Market Overview

Initial Jobless Claims Fall to March 2008 Lows

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In its weekly report, the U.S. Department of Labor said for the week ending July 7 that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 350,000. This reading was better than the consensus estimate of 372,000, and decreased 26,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 376,000.

Initial jobless claims data measure the number of individuals filing for jobless benefits for the first time during the previous week. A lower-than-expected reading is typically a positive signal about the U.S. job market, as more people remain employed.

When emerging unemployment is low and less than expected, it indicates a relatively healthy or recovering economy.

Thursday, the initial jobless claims' four-week moving average was 376,500, decreasing 9,750 from the previous week's revised average of 386,250.

Continuing jobless claims measure the number of unemployed individuals who continue to be eligible for unemployment benefits.

The U.S. Department of Labor said the advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment, during the week ending June 30, was 3,304,000. This number was worse than the consensus estimate of 3,300,000, and decreased 14,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,318,000.

The four-week moving average for continuing jobless claims increased 1,250 on Thursday. The average moved to 3,308,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,307,250.

U.S. equity futures were slightly higher immediately after the 8:30 a.m. ET release.

ACTION ITEMS: Traders who believe that Thursday's jobless claims readings are a leading indicator for the U.S. economy might want to consider the following trades:
  • Long general retail companies like JCPenney (NYSE: JCP) because, as less individuals leave the workforce, people likely will spend more of their residual income.
  • Long consumer discretionary companies like Target (NYSE: TGT) or the Consumer Discretionary ETF (NYSE: XLY).
  • Long consumer staple companies like Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) and Colgate (NYSE: CL) because, even if fewer people remain in the workforce, consumers still likely need to buy staple products like shampoo and toothpaste.
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Posted-In: U.S. Department of LaborNews Futures Events Econ #s Economics Markets General Best of Benzinga


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