Initial jobless claims were unchanged in the week ended June 1 at 218,000. The previous week was revised up from 215,000. The reading was only slightly above market expectations and in line with readings in the past month that point to solid labor market conditions. The Labor Department reported no special factors and no states estimated claims in the week. In spite of concerns about a slowdown in economic activity, so far the labor market continues to show little or no sign of deterioration.
Levels of continuing claims were up 20,000 to 1.682 million in the May 25 week, an increase that is well within normal week-to-week variation and consistent with a solid labor market by historical standards. The insured rate of unemployment was unchanged at 1.2% where it has been since the May 5, 2018 week.
Labor market behavior is regarded as a lagging indicator for the economy. While these sorts of readings may give way to ones that are less favorable in the coming weeks and months, it would take a series of swift and significant moves to suggest more than that the tight labor market was shifting from one competitive for available labor market resources to one in which businesses had more hiring leverage.
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