While the trend for payrolls and unemployment has been better, the great compression in weekly jobless claims had not been continuing at the same rate as of late. Thursday’s weekly jobless claims report from the U.S. Labor Department showed that claims fell by 26,000 to only 319,000. Bloomberg was calling for the consensus to be 330,000, from a range of 320,000 to 335,000. Dow Jones had a consensus estimate of 325,000.
Last week’s revision went from 344,000 to 345,000. We would note that recent weeks have been more volatile over the timing of Easter, although this should be smoothed out over time.
Two more readings stood out as well. The four-week average, which aims to smooth out volatility, rose by 4,500 to 324,750.
Also, the continuing jobless claims — the so-called army of the unemployed — fell by 76,000 to 2.685 million. Be advised that continuing claims are reported with a one-week lag.
Thursday’s news should be a moderate positive, although comments about low interest rates continuing from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen may have eaten most of the gains that could have come from this weekly report.