US jobless claims goes down but may not be enough
Initial jobless claims may be edging down, at least they have the past couple of weeks. Initial claims for the August 28 week came in at 472,000 compared with a revised 478,000 in the prior week and the 2010 peak of 504,000 the week before that.
The four-week average fell 2,500 to 485,500 yet is still about 25,000 higher than a month ago, which is not a positive indication for tomorrow’s employment report.
Continuing claims fell 23,000 to 4.456 million in data for the August 21 week. Here the four-week average, at 4.485 and down more than 100,000 from a month ago, probably offers a positive indication for tomorrow’s report. Note that a decline in continuing claims reflects both hiring but unfortunately also reflects the expiration of benefits. The unemployment rate for insured employees is unchanged at 3.5 percent.
There are no special factors in today’s report, a report that probably won’t affect expectations for tomorrow’s data. The job sector is flat at best, a description that likewise fits consumer spirits and consumer spending.
The August payrolls report may show tomorrow the economy lost 100,000 jobs, the third straight monthly decline, according to the Bloomberg survey median. The drop will reflect dismissals of temporary government workers who were hired for the census. The unemployment rate rose to 9.6 percent, economists forecast.
The productivity of U.S. workers fell more than previously estimated in the second quarter, pushing up labor costs and showing the slowdown in growth will limit profits, another Labor Department report today showed.
The measure of employee output per hour dropped at a 1.8 percent annual rate, the biggest decline in almost four years, compared with the 0.9 percent decrease initially calculated, according to the revised figures. Labor expenses rose at a 1.1 percent pace, the most in more than a year.
Jobless benefits applications were projected to rise to 475,000 from 473,000 initially reported for the prior week, according to the median forecast of 40 economists in a Bloomberg survey. Estimates ranged from 460,000 to 485,000. The Labor Department revised the prior week’s figure up to 478,000.