The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week hit the lowest level in three months, indicating ongoing strength in the US labor market which boasts the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years.
- Initial jobless claims dropped from 216,00 to 206,000 in the week ended July 20, despite market expectations of a mild increase to 219,000.
- Jobless claims measure layoffs, and the report indicates that the labor market continues to buoy other, weaker aspects of the economy.
- The monthly average of new claims dropped by 5,750 to 213,000, giving a less volatile view of the market.
Sizable declines in many states were reported, led by New York which dropped by 13,514. Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin also reported major declines, and no state saw an increase of above 1,000. The drop in claims may have been influenced by seasonal factors, as annual summer retooling by auto makers can sometimes leave plants shut down and later reopened. The end of the school year also often impacts claims data.
The rate of continuing claims, claims continued after an initial week of aid, dropped by 13,000 to 1.68 million, and remain near the lowest level since the 1970s. The US is now in its longest-ever period of economic expansion, with the lowest unemployment rate in almost 50 years despite the economic slowdown being felt worldwide. A strong labor market coupled with healthy consumer spending has protected the US economy from global economic headwinds so far.
However, the trade war continues to have a negative impact on manufacturing and business investment, leaving analysts concerned for the future. A recent survey shows that manufacturers reported the slowest growth in ten years in July.
US jobless claims fell to a 3-month low last week, close to a 50-year low. This leading indicator suggests that next week's July employment report will deliver upbeat news for the economy at the start of Q3: https://t.co/1FGEMChLb3 pic.twitter.com/X4RBkFliSd
— James Picerno (@jpicerno) July 25, 2019
Gold prices saw some downward momentum following the joint release of the initial jobless claims data and a report indicating above-expectations durable goods orders in June. Spot gold last traded at $1,418.64/oz, down 0.29% with a high of $1,433.32/oz and a low of $1,416.31/oz.