The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week with 212,000 applications vs. 220,000 expected. The labor market continues to show signs of strength, buoying up other sections of the US economy amid an ongoing trade war and a global economic slowdown.
- The number of initial jobless claims for the week ended May 11 dropped 16,000 to 216,000.
- Claims had been reported at higher levels for three weeks in a row.
- The less-volatile four-week moving average rose 4,750 to 225,000.
The Labor Department has released another report pointing to ongoing health in the market. Jobless claims are a measurement of layoffs and indicate key trends in workforce activity. Seasonal fluctuations created by holidays such as Easter, Passover, and spring breaks had created difficulties in the measurement of claims, and this partially accounts for the high figures in recent weeks.
Still no sign of trouble for the US macro trend via today's weekly update on jobless claims, which fell to 212k--close to a 50yr low https://t.co/a1kl5Gyzsm Trade-war risk could change the calculus in the weeks/months ahead, but claims still point to growth ahead. pic.twitter.com/flaIc8kF1I
— James Picerno (@jpicerno) May 16, 2019
The four-week moving average of initial jobless claims rose 4,750 last week to 225,000. This measurement is considered to be a more stable market indicator. The number of people continuing to receive benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 28,000 to 1.66 million for the week ended May 4, and the four-week moving average of continuing claims rose 1,500 to 1.67 million.
The report indicates that the labor market is still performing well, and continues to support the economy even as the effects of the Trump administration’s $1.5 trillion tax cut fades. The unemployment rate is near a 50-year low at 3.6%.