Fewer Americans may have filed for unemployment benefits last week, but the longer-term trend shows little movement to levels normally associated with increasing job creation.
New claims slipped 11,000 to 346,000 in the week of June 1st from an upwardly revised 357,000 the week before, originally listed at 354,000, according to the Labor Department in Washington today. Economists had estimated there would be 345,000 new filers. The four week moving average climbed to 352,500 from 348,000, the highest in seven weeks. It is now 14,500 higher than its post-recession low of 338,000 in the first week of May.
Claims remain above the levels where firms have historically begun hiring in greater numbers than the economy has seen in the past few years. The data has no specific import for tomorrow’s non-farm payrolls as it fell outside the survey period for the employment report.
Employers are forecast to have added 165,000 new jobs in May according to the Reuters survey of economists. The unemployment rate is predicted to stay at 7.5%.
The number of people receiving benefits under regular state programs from their initial filing fell 52,000 to 2.95 million in the week ended May 25th. The four-week average for these continuing claims was the lowest since May 2008. The number of people whose benefit period from their initial claim has been exhausted and are now collecting 'emergency' or 'extended' benefits rose 34,000 to 1.76 million in the week of May 18th.
Chief Market Strategist