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First Cut: Initial jobless claims fall sharply in September 7 week

Initial jobless claims fell 15,000 to 204,000 in the September 7 week after a revised 219,000 (previously 217,000) in the prior week. The normal wave of workers being laid off at the end of the summer holiday season doesn’t appear to have hit quite yet, or perhaps it simply was accomplished sooner over the prior two weeks. In any case, the pace of filings was below where the seasonal adjustment expected. Claims are likely to return to more seasonal levels in coming weeks. Impacts along the Eastern seaboard from Hurricane Dorian escaped the sort of the devastation that hit the Bahamas and was mostly confined to localized flooding. There could be some increases in claims in the next week, but these are likely to do no more than slightly dial up normal week-to-week noise.

The Labor Department reported no special factors in the numbers and no states estimated claims.

Continuing claims in the August 31 week fell 4,000 to 1.670 million, a change that is of no particular note. The insured rate of unemployment maintained its 1.2% reading that has now persisted for 16 straight months. The unadjusted rate slipped a tenth to 1.0%, just above the record low of 0.9% in the October 6, 2018 week. In spite of some evidence in other reports of increased layoffs and slower hiring, the weekly numbers as yet show no sign of easing in a tight labor market.



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