Jobless Claims Set Tone For Unemployment & Payrolls Data

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Weekly jobless claims from the Labor Department looks good on the surface, but it isn’t too good and it won’t give any great hope for Friday’s unemployment and payrolls data.  The report shows a drop of 12,000 to 409,000 in weekly jobless claims versus what was expected to be 407,000 from a Bloomberg consensus.  The bad news is that drop looks exaggerated because the prior week’s figures were adjusted from 417,000 to 421,000.

The four-week average aims to smooth the volatility and it may be more important for Friday’s data.  That figure crept up by 1,750 to 410,250.

The army of unemployed measured by the continuing claims has a one-week lag, but that figure fell by 18,000 to 3.735 million.

Today’s weekly claims data does little for Friday and we would seriously question any big upside surprises if they are reported before President Obama’s big jobs speech next week.  Bloomberg is looking for unemployment to remain flat at 9.1% on Friday with a non-Farm Payrolls to be a dismal 67,000 versus 117,000 reported in July.