The U.S. finally got some good news on the weekly jobless claims report from the U.S. Labor Department. Jobless claims fell in the last week down by 26,000 to 350,000. It is almost certain that the Fourth of July falling on a Wednesday helped the situation. We also saw that the prior week’s report was revised higher by 2,000 from 374,000 to 376,000. Dow Jones was calling for a reading of about 370,000 and Bloomberg was calling for a reading of 375,000. Even the four-week average fell by 9,750 to 376,500 for the lowest level since May.
The indication is that this last week’s drop was due to seasonal factors, and we would again point to the Fourth of July holiday falling on a Wednesday. The army of unemployed, those making claims for more than a week, is measured with a one week lag and that report was down by 14,000 to 3.3 million.
Elsewhere from the Labor Department’s inflation watch, import prices were down 2.7% month over month due to lower fuel costs. This was the largest drop in over three years and it was the third consecutive drop. Import prices were down 2.6% from a year ago.
Today’s numbers sound good on the surface. Unfortunately they are easy to ignore due to ‘exceptions’ and due to negative headlines elsewhere.
JON C. OGG