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First Cut: Initial jobless claims little changed for a second week in a row at start of May

Initial jobless claims for the week ended May 4 slipped 2,000 to 228,000 after 230,000 in the prior two weeks. There were no special factors for the data and only one state — Indiana — estimated claims. The steadiness in recent weeks for filing for benefits suggests that labor market remains tight with little sign of fundamental changes in conditions. The four-week moving average was up 7,750 to 220,250 in the May 4 week, rising to catch up with recent higher readings after the sharp turn lower earlier in April.

Continuing claims in the April 27 week rose 13,000 to 1.684 million, well in line with normal week-to-week variation and only slightly above the four-week moving average of 1.666 million. Like new claims, the level has been fairly stable and consistent with a labor market in which little slack exists. The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.2% where it has been since the May 5, 2018 week.

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