The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest point in 5 months for the week ended September 7 according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.
Claims dropped 15,000 to 204,000, the lowest level since April. The data points to ongoing strength in the labor market, which has continued to buoy up other areas of the US economy in the face of trade war pressures.
- Jobless claims dropped 15,000 to 204,000, the lowest since April and marking the largest drop since May.
- Data for the previous week was revised higher by 2,000 jobless claim applications.
- With market expectations for last week set at 215,000, the figures mark a big miss in projected claims and indicate strength in the labor market.
The US labor market continues to perform well, according to the latest report from the Labor Department. It’s worth noting that the claims data for the week ended September 7 covered the Labor Day holiday, which may have introduced typical volatility to the claims data and exaggerated the dip in claims. No states were estimated in the latest report.
The four-week moving average of initial claims, which irons out shorter-term volatility and presents a more stable view of market conditions, fell 4,250 to 212,500 last week. The number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 4,000 to 1.67 million for the week ended August 31, and the four-week average of these continuing claims dropped 14,500 to 1.68 million.
First Cut: Initial jobless claims fall sharply in September 7 week, continuing claims about the same. The insured rate of unemployment held at 1.2% for a 16th straight month. https://t.co/HYYacBteOg pic.twitter.com/7MIjYWyGTr
— Whetstone Analysis LLC (@AnalysisLlc) September 12, 2019
Jobless claims are a key measure for layoffs, which appear to remain low despite the ongoing trade war between the US and China which has negatively impacted the manufacturing industry as well as business investment during the last year.
The trade war recently escalated again when US President Donald Trump announced further tariffs on Chinese last week, although it was announced on Thursday that President Trump has agreed to a delay on those tariffs on request by the Chinese government.
While the US economy continues to grow, now in its 11th year of the longest expansion period in the nation’s history, there are signs of an economic slowdown as job growth slows and analysts report recessionary pressures from various indicators.
Nonfarm payrolls rose 130,000 in August, a significant drop in growth compared to the 159,000 jobs created the month before.
Job growth does, however, remain above the 100,000 needed to keep pace with growth in the working age population, with the average number of jobs created per month reported at 158,000 for 2019.
Gold prices have spiked significantly today despite the strong labor market data and potential slowdown in trade war escalation.
Spot gold last traded at $1,516.24/oz, up 1.46% with a high of $1,522.70/oz and a low of $1,489.59/oz. The surge in the value of gold can be partially attributed to the results of a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting which announced that it would be easing its monetary policy. The ECB announced rate cuts of 0.1% to -0.5% and introduced the largest quantitative easing (bond buying program) in the last three years.
The Federal Reserve is also expected to cut interest rates at a meeting next week.