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First Cut: Initial jobless claims rise in August 10 week, but underlying trend still low

New filings for jobless benefits were up 9,000 in the August 10 week to 220,000, up from a revised 211,000 in the prior week (previously 209,000). This time of year the seasonal adjustment factors anticipate relatively few new claims as school districts bring back support workers and seasonal employees have yet to be laid off. However, unadjusted claims were up 6,151 to 186,028 from the prior week. Nonetheless, the underlying trend is still quite low by historical standards. The four-week moving average was up a scant 1,000 to 213,750.

Continuing claims in the August 3 week were up 39,000 to 1.726 million. The increase is probably a one-off, but it does hint that laid off workers may be spending a little more time on the rolls than seen in recent months. The insured rate of unemployment maintained its reading of 1.2% as it has since early May 2018.

If at the margins there is some hints that the labor market is less able to bring in workers and/or reemployed them, it still very healthy by historical measures.

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