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First Cut: Initial jobless claims fall in June 29 week, holding near recent levels

Initial jobless claims fell 8,000 in the June 29 week to 221,000 after a revised 229,000 (previously 227,000) in the prior week. The four-week moving average rose a mere 500 to 222,250 in the week, suggesting that the underlying trend is relatively stable and remaining consistent with a tight labor market.

The Labor Department cited no special factors and only one state — Virginia — estimated claims. However, the next two weeks will have seasonal adjustment factors that anticipate large numbers of layoff. This is the usual period when automakers close factories for retooling and many secondary businesses close as a result. The levels are claims are likely to be quite noisy for a few weeks as a result. Automakers were already making changes to plants and personnel to meet changing demand. The usual layoffs may not take place in 2019.

The insured rate of unemployment did not budge. The 1.2% as of the June 22 week was the same as back through May of 2018. The level of continuing claims dipped 8,000 to 1.686 million in the June 22 week, a normal week-to-week move. The four-week moving average slipped 1,750 to 1.687 million, pointing to underlying conditions that are seeing little noise in the background.

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