Applications for unemployment benefits rose 5,000 to 218,000 for the week ended October 26 according to the Labor Department’s Thursday report. Data for the week prior was revised upward by 1,000.
- Claims rose 5,000 to 218,000, above expectations of a 215,000 result.
- Continuing claims and the four-week average of continuing claims both evened out at 1.69 million.
- October payrolls are expected to have added a mere 89,000 jobs.
Job growth is expected to have slowed in October, although the low levels of claims indicates strong labor market conditions so far with few layoffs. Claims were above expectations, but still consistent with a health job market. The four-week average of claims, a more stable indicator that irons out volatility, dropped 500 to 214,750 last week.
The expected drop in hiring is partially due to the 40-day strike at General Motors which saw 46,000 workers out of work in Michigan and Kentucky. While striking workers are not eligible for benefits, the rise in jobless claims may be partially attributed to other workers along the supply chain affected by the strike.
— Bespoke (@bespokeinvest) October 31, 2019
It is estimated that the strike has cut 75,000 jobs from October payrolls, and the results of that report are due out on Friday. An estimated 89,000 jobs were added in total, down from 136,000 in September. 100,000 is considered to be the minimum required to keep pace with growth in the working age population. The unemployment rate is expected to rise slightly to 3.6% as a result of the strike and the general slowdown in the pace of job growth due to reduced demand and a shortage of skilled workers.
The Federal Reserve cut interest rates on Wednesday for the third time in 2019 after implementing no rate cuts since 2008 before then. However, the central bank also indicated a pause in monetary easing policy, with mild economic growth anticipated in the coming months.
Gold prices are significantly higher today following a sub-target PCE report that indicates inflation at 1.7%. Spot gold last traded at $1,512.37/oz, up 1.71% with a high of $1,513.96/oz and a low of $1,482.20/oz.