Jobless claims increase by 12000
Labor Day caused a bump in the jobless claims series. Initial claims in the September 18 week, which doesn’t include Labor Day, rose 12,000 to a higher-than-expected 465,000. The prior week, which includes Labor Day, was revised 3,000 higher to 453,000. Adjustments factor in a low level of filings for the shortened week and a high level in the following week as government offices catch up on the work. But the back-up this year exceeded the adjustments, making for the surprise gain and raising questions on how much initial claims are actually improving. The four-week average of 463,250 is down in the week and is down more than 10,000 from a month ago to point to month-to-month strength for the September employment report.
Continuing claims are down 48,000 in data for the September 11 week. Here the four-week average, at 4.520 million, is little changed from the month-ago comparison. The unemployment rate for insured workers did slip one tenth to 3.5 percent which however follows a tick higher in prior weeks.
Though Labor Day clouds the data, a 465,000 initial level compares favorably with summer levels. Stock futures edged lower in initial reaction to the report.