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First Cut: Initial jobless claims up 3,000 in May 25 week, normal week-to-week fluctuation

Initial jobless claims rose 3,000 to 215,000 in the May 25 week, displaying only normal week-to-week fluctuations. Five states — California, Delaware, Kansas, Puerto Rico, and Virginia — estimated claims in the week, likely due to the timing of the Memorial Day observance. Such estimates are usually fairly accurate and do not result in substantial revisions in the subsequent week. The Labor Department cited no special factors behind the numbers. The level was dead on market expectations.

The level of continuing claims was down 26,000 to 1.657 million in the May 18 week, further unwinding the brief uptick around the Passover/Easter period. The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.2%, extending its string of readings to just over a year’s duration.

In spite of concerns about a slowdown in economic activity, so far any impacts from trade disruptions are invisible. The labor market cannot be characterized as anything except tight and favorable for workers.


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