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Kerry Lutz's--Financial Survival Network

Sep 11, 2019

The numbers: The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits in late August rose slightly to 215,000, but layoffs remain remarkably low more than 10 years after the last recession and show little sign of rising even as the economy faces stiffer headwinds. 

Initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, increased by 4,000 to 215,000 in the seven days ended Aug. 24, the government said Thursday.

Economists polled by MarketWatch estimated new claims would total a seasonally adjusted 214,000.

What happened: Raw or unadjusted jobless claims jumped by more than 4,500 in New York, likely accounting for most of the increase in claims. New jobless claims were little changed in every other state. 

The more stable monthly average of new jobless claims, meanwhile, edged down by 500 to 214,500. 

The four-week average usually gives a more accurate read into labor-market conditions than the more volatile weekly number. Both remain close to a 50-year low, however.

The number of people in the U.S. already collecting unemployment benefits, known as continuing claims, climbed by 22,000 to 1.7 million. These claims are near a more than 40-year low.

Big picture: Jobless claims are still extremely low and show no sign of rising. The strong labor market is propping up a U.S. economy being buffeted by a trade war with China and a slowing global economy. Consumers are still confident enough to spend and drive the economy forward. 

There’s probably little reason to worry about until jobless claims shoot above 230,000 and move toward 250,000, economists say.

What they are saying? “The labor market remains tight and solid, layoff activity is light and there is no evidence in the economic data that suggests that these conditions will change any time soon,” said Thomas Simons, senior money market economist at Jefferies LLC. 

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.81% and the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.84% rose in Thursday trades after China said it would not retaliate immediately to the latest U.S. increase in tariffs.

The 10-year Treasury yield TMUBMUSD10Y, +1.99% edged up to 1.51%. Amazing!