The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits sunk to the lowest point in 49 ½ years last week, reaching 192,000. The four-week moving average also contracted, dropping 6,000 places to 202,150.
- The number of Americans applying for benefits dropped 5,000 positions to 192,000, the lowest point since September 1969.
- Previous week’s data was revised upward by 1,000 to 197,000.
- Market expectations were for claims to rise to around 205,000.
The labor market defied expectations and has, yet again, showed ongoing strength, bolstering other struggling areas of the economy. Last month’s boost in retail sales is likely partially due to the health of the labor market encouraging consumer spending.
Claims have now declined for 5 weeks in a row. Typically, claims around Easter are volatile due to seasonal holidays such as Easter and other spring breaks at different times. No states were estimated, according to the Labor Department.
The four-week moving average dipped 6,000 to 201,250, the lowest since November 1969. The monthly average is a less-volatile measure of jobless claims which are an indicator of layoffs in the labor market. Continued claims dropped 63,000 to 1.65 million for the week ended April 6, and the four-week moving average of so-called continuing claims dropped 22,750 to 1.71 million.
US jobless claims continued to tick lower, touching yet another 50-year low last week. New filings for unemployment benefits dipped to 192k, a fresh sign that the labor mkt is still on track for healthy growth https://t.co/HPSxAvO8Dk pic.twitter.com/CP9dQZUCFT
— James Picerno (@jpicerno) April 18, 2019
New Job Creation Corresponds With Fewer Layoffs
The data for last week corresponds with the nonfarm payrolls part of April’s employment report. The monthly average of claims dropped 19,250 overall between the March and April survey weeks, pointing to strong employment growth after a major increase of 196,000 new jobs in March, and indicates that the steady drop in jobless claims is unlikely to be anomalous.
Hiring has slowed, but is still almost double the generally-accepted minimum of 100,000 new jobs required per month to accommodate growth in the working-age population. Unemployment is now at 3.8%, with Fed officials predicting 3.7% by the end of the year.
Gold is holding gains following the typically bearish news of strong labor market performance as well as unexpectedly high retail sales for March. Spot gold last traded at $1,273.60/oz, up 0.11% with a high of $1,277.64/oz and a low of $1,271.33/oz. A weak manufacturing report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve may have alleviated some of the selling pressure likely to be created from other gold-bearish market news released today.