The US labor market continues to tighten as last week’s report from the Labor Department shows that initial jobless claims fell slightly from the previous week.
- The week ending November 3 saw initial jobless claims total 214,000, down 1,000
- The previous week, claims had risen by 1,000 to 215,000
- The more stable four-week moving average of continuing claims fell to 213,750.
With 7.14 million open positions in the labor market and near full-employment, there is most likely a shortage of skilled workers in the US as companies compete for employees to fill positions by raising wages to attract fresh talent.
The share of Americans claiming unemployment held at 1.1% compared to the unemployed rate of 3.7%. Claims were affected in Florida and Georgia by Hurricane Michael, with Hurricane Florence affecting claims in North Carolina.
For the week ending October 27, the advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment was 1,623,000 - the lowest since July 1973 and down 8,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 1,631,000.
Unemployment in the US is now the lowest in 49 years with 227,000 new private sector jobs created last month alone.
Jobs data can influence the way the Federal Open Market Committee adjusts monetary policy, making it of interest to traders as well - a tight labor market can also strengthen the dollar and weaken the appeal of gold as a safe haven investment.
However, the price of the dollar also dropped slightly yesterday, perhaps due to uncertainty over the results of the midterm elections which have revealed a split outcome and sure to have a major impact on future US monetary policy. Democrats have gained a slim majority control of the House while Republicans continue to control the Senate.
Gold is down $313 as of 9:22 ET, a -0.26% drop from yesterday and now trading at $1,233.07 per ounce. December Comex Futures are trading at $1,233.70.
Steve Englander, a strategist at Standard Chartered ,said:
“Asset markets could well react positively to the combination of the Democratic swing in the popular vote and a Republican Senate advantage that may be hard to beat. Tax cuts are likely to stay in place, but there is little risk of further policy measures that would steepen the path of future deficits.”
Lena Komileva, a chief economist with (G+) Economics, pointed out that a divided Congress may prove ideal for monetary policy, stating that:
“Adding more fuel to the economy with a fresh fiscal stimulus, when there is already little spare capacity left and inflation risk is on the rise, would have risked rapid rises in US yields and the dollar risking another recession.”
Supporting that view, Gold Price recently reported that a split Congress may prove beneficial to the trading price of gold.