The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits for the week ended June 29 dipped modestly from 227,000 to 221,000. This is slightly above the market expectation of 220,000, but the data indicates that layoffs are relatively low.
- Initial jobless claims were relatively in line with expectations at 220,000, down from 227,000.
- The data indicates that layoffs remain low despite the apparent economic slowdown seen nationwide.
- The less-volatile monthly average rose by 500 to 222,250.
The four-week moving average of claims, which tends to iron out weekly volatility, rose by just 500 to a total of 222,250, painting a more accurate picture of labor market conditions. The jobless claims report was released a day early to account for the July 4 holiday.
Raw or unadjusted claims fell last week in California, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and rose in New York and New Jersey. Some of the volatility seen in claims figures may have been due to the end of the school year which often requires parents to leave work. Jobless claims remain at post-recession lows, and for the past year and a half have more accurately matched levels last seen in the late 60s.
The report was released minutes after the ADP employment report which showed a big miss in hiring expectations with only 102,000 new jobs added in June compared to 140,000 expected. While hiring has slowed, there is no indication at this time that companies are laying off workers due to falling demand, a prevalent concern among economists and analysts. With record-low levels of unemployment at 3.6%, the economy has slowed but is still in a strong position moving forward.
U.S. initial jobless claims fell 8k to 221k in the week ended June 29, after increasing 12k to 229k (was 227k) in the June 22 week. That brought the 4-week moving average to 222.25k from 221.75k (was 221.25k).https://t.co/U8PTfT0fIC#economics #economy pic.twitter.com/AxG8e8npqx
— Action Economics LLC (@actioneconomics) July 3, 2019
Gold has spiked today, trading up 0.70% at $1,414.48/oz with a high of $1,435.72/oz and a low of $1,405.08/oz. The poor ADP employment report likely contributed to the use case for gold as a safe haven asset during the ongoing hiring slowdown.