US Jobless Claims beat consensus, lowest since May
In a sign of improvement for the labor market, initial jobless claims fell substantially in the September 4 week. Claims came in at 451,000 vs. 478,000 in the prior week (revised from 472,000). The 451,000 level is the lowest since July and the second lowest since May. The Labor Department told Market News International that nine states had to be estimated due to delays tied to the holiday shortened week, but the government stressed that data since received confirm the improvement. The four-week average fell nearly 10,000 to 477,750 and is only slightly higher than a month-ago.
Continuing claims show only fractional change for a second week, at 4.478 million in data for the August 28 week with the four-week average at 4.488 million, the latter down mildly from the month-ago reading. The unemployment rate for insured workers is unchanged at 3.5 percent.
The impact of today’s report on the market will be limited by uncertainty over the impact of heading into the holiday shortened week, yet the improvement, if confirmed or even extended in next week’s report, would begin to raise expectations for payroll expansion. Stock futures are moving slightly higher.
Initial jobless claims for the August 28 week declined 6,000 to 472,000 from a revised 478,000 in the prior week. The numbers are still high but still notably below the 2010 peak of 504,000 the week before that. Continuing claims fell 23,000 to 4.456 million in data for the August 21 week. The decline in continuing claims reflects both hiring and unfortunately also the expiration of benefits.