Weekly jobless claims fell to 339,000.

Expectations were for 344,000 versus a revised 341,000 prior. The four-week moving averaged ticked slightly higher.

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Pantheon Macro’s Ian Shepherdson says seasonal distortions continue to make this figure noisy:

“With two straight readings not far from our guesstimate of the underlying trend, it is tempting to argue that the claims numbers are settling after an extended period of extreme volatility, triggered by the California systems problems, the government shutdown and old-fashioned seasonal adjustment problems.

But we think it makes sense to remain cautious. Indeed, we think the odds favour a sharp drop in claims next week, to perhaps 310K or so, followed by a rebound to about 340K the following week. The data likely won’t be free of seasonal distortions until the middle of this month.

For now, we’re guessing that the trend in layoffs is flat-to-slightly downwards, but we cannot be sure.”

Here’s what they’ve been looking like since 2011 — they’ve come up a bit recently.

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