More Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week than expected, but at 229,000, the final figure is not far off market expectations of 225,000. Initial jobless claims, a key measure of layoffs, have been settling into a relatively flat pace on average recently.
- Initial jobless claims last week came in at 229,000 vs 225,000 expected.
- The labor market is still growing according to the data, but a slowdown may be underway.
- Claims have remained within the range of 200,000 – 253,000 so far this year.
For the week ended March 09, initial jobless claims were 4,000 higher than expected with no states estimated according to the Labor Department. The four-week moving average, a less-volatile measure of layoffs, dipped 2,500 to 223,750 last week, offsetting the unexpected rise in the week-to-week figures somewhat.
Continuing Claims rose 18,000 to 1.78 million for the week ended March 2, and the four-week moving average dipped 1,000 to 1.77 million.
#US Macro: Alarming sign from Initial jobless claims
A fresh bulk of the U.S. data is quite alarming, although it is unlikely to be a reason for the market’s sale-off
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Slowdown Due To Tight Labor Market
The labor market is arguably entering a slowdown, albeit for the simple fact that there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill available positions due to the market nearing full employment. Hiring is being constrained as the afterglow of the Republican party tax cuts begins to fade.
The ongoing trade war is impacting international trade and industry, as is the situation with Brexit.
Last week the government reported that only 20,000 nonfarm payrolls positions were created in February, a strong indicator that things are slowing down, although wage growth hit a ten-year high and the unemployment rate slipped even further to 3.8%.
While the news is technically mixed-to-negative, the report is relatively mild and the US labor market appears to be in good health, although perhaps running out of room to grow.
Gold prices remain under pressure today, seeing no reaction to the news of increased jobless claims.
Now below the $1,300/oz line of support once again, gold is trading down -0.91% at $1,295.59/oz with a high of $1,311.29/oz and a low of $1,293.44/oz. The USD has extended gains today, creating selling pressure for spot gold, and US Treasuries are also trading higher.
April Comex Futures are trading lower than spot gold at $1,295.20/oz, down -1.08%.