The Labor Department’s report on weekly jobless claims is out and the report showed a drop of 5,000 to 359,000 for the prior week. Bloomberg had estimates of 350,000 and Dow Jones was calling for a gain of 2,000.
One problem is that the previous week was revised to 364,000 from 348,000 and that means that breaking the 350,000 barrier was a mirage rather than an accomplishment. This is said to be due to adjustments that go back years now.
These numbers are still far better (or far less-bad) than they had been in prior months. Still, these alone are not enough to truly fix a weak labor market despite the drop in the official unemployment rate.
Another consideration is the army of unemployed measured with a one-week lag in the continuing jobless claims. This figure fell by 41,000 to 3,340,000 in today’s report.
All in all, this is a net neutral reading because it is not far enough ahead of or under estimates to make a huge impact. We will get one more look next week at weekly claims before next Friday’s unemployment reading and data on non-farm payrolls.
JON C. OGG