Initial claims continue to dig out a new plateau of lows so far this year, down 14,000 in the January 28 week to 246,000. The 4-week average, at 248,000, has held below 250,000 for three straight weeks which is a first for this reading.
Continuing claims have not been moving lower but are still favorable, down 39,000 in lagging data for the January 21 week to 2.064 million. This 4-week average is down 13,000 to 2.080 million with the unemployment rate for insured workers holding at a very low 1.5 percent.
There are no special factors in today's report, one that confirms the general health of the labor market going into tomorrow's employment report.
Initial jobless claims jumped 22,000 to a higher-than-expected 259,000 in the January 21 week and forecasters see an easing back down in the January 28 week, down a consensus 6,000 to 253,000. Claims data have been very low and consistent with strong demand for labor.