US Jobless Claims Make Unexpected Move Lower: What You Need To Know

Zinger Key Points
  • Although jobless claims have been trending higher, they remain below levels that typically signal a labor market slowdown.
  • A move lower following three weeks of increases is at least a step in the right direction.
US Jobless Claims Make Unexpected Move Lower: What You Need To Know

Unemployment insurance filings unexpectedly fell for the first time in three weeks, flashing a positive sign for U.S. labor demand.

What Happened: Claims fell by 2,000 for the week ended Aug. 13 to 250,000 total, according to data the Labor Department released on Thursday. The number came in below average economist estimates of 265,000.

The previous week's level was revised down from 262,000 to 252,000. The four-week moving average was 246,750, down 2,750 from the previous week's revised average, which was revised down from 252,000 to 249,500.

Although jobless claims have been trending higher in recent weeks, they remain below levels that typically signal a slowdown in the labor market. A move lower following three weeks of increases is at least a step in the right direction.

See Also: S&P 500, Nasdaq Futures Relay Cautious Optimism As Fed Speeches Loom; Cisco Takes Off On Earnings

Why It Matters: The Federal Reserve raised its target fed funds rate by 0.75% in June and again in July. The two consecutive 0.75% rate hikes mark the most aggressive rate increases since 1994. The Fed is fighting the highest inflation numbers in more than 40 years.

Minutes from last month's Fed meeting showed that officials agreed to keep hiking rates enough to cool down the economy. The minutes also show that the central bank will likely need to maintain higher rates until inflation shows clear signs of a slowdown.

The meeting was held at the end of July, two weeks before the most recent CPI data flashed a potential sign that inflation may have peaked.

The headline CPI rose 8.5% in July, which was down from a 9.1% reading in June. The number came in below average economist estimates of 8.7%.  June represented the highest CPI inflation number since 1981.

SPY Price Action: The SPDR S&P 500 SPY was up 0.14% at $427.26 at the time of writing, according to Benzinga Pro.

Photo: Marco Verch from Flickr.

Posted In: employmentlabor departmentUnemploymentNewsEcon #sFederal Reserve