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First Cut: Initial jobless claims move lower after a little noise in earlier weeks, back to trend in low 200,000’s

Initial jobless claims fell 16,000 to 212,000 in the May 11 week as the data moved past any noise that might have been generated by the late timing of the Passover/Easter holiday period and difficulties in seasonally adjusting the numbers. The coming weeks are a time when many school districts layoff workers at the end of the school year.  This is usually well-anticipated by the seasonal factors and should not influence the week-to-week fluctuations in the headline too much. The story should remain that the labor market is tight and workers laid off will be able to find new work relatively easily.

The Labor Department cited no special factors and no states estimated claims in the May 11 week.

Continuing claims declined 28,000 to 1.660 million in the May 4 week, unwinding a brief two-week uptick in levels. Workers laid off are not remaining on the unemployment rolls for long periods. The insured rate of unemployment was 1.2% where it has been since May 2018.

Overall conditions continue to favor workers. Businesses are holding on to skilled employees if they can in a competitive job market.

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