Continuing Jobless Claims, the Army of Unemployed, Hits Lowest Level Since Before Recession

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The U.S. Labor Department may have given a disappointing uptick in the unemployment rate two weeks ago, but the weekly jobless claims picture is coming out in a different light today. Weekly jobless claims fell by 27,000 to 341,000 in the past week. Dow Jones and Bloomberg were both calling for 360,000, and the Bloomberg range was 350,000 to 375,000. Last week’s reading of 366,000 was revised higher to 368,000.

Next week could have some different revisions as the results for Connecticut and Illinois were estimated. Another measurement is the four-week average. This aims to smooth out the weekly readings, and that rose by 1,500 to 352,500.

The army of unemployed, measured as the continuing jobless claims (with a one-week lag), fell by a sharp 130,000 to a reading of 3,114,000. We would note that the continuing claims are now the lowest level going back to mid-2008, before the wheels came off the economic truck.

Stocks are not really reacting to the weekly claims figure. S&P futures are down four points and DJIA futures are down about 35 points in premarket trading this morning. The DJIA is struggling to get over and remain above the 14,000 mark, and the same is being said about 1,525 on the S&P 500.

We would note that the 10-year Treasury yield is looking more and more like the 2% yield barrier is being breached, as the yield is now up to 2.05%. That would effectively match a multimonth high. The 30-year Treasury bond is now yielding about 3.23% as well.

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