Initial jobless claims totaled 326k, 22k less than expected and follows two weeks where we saw above expectation prints. Last week was revised up by 2k to 364k. Smoothing this all out puts the 4 week average at 344k vs 341k last week as a print of 312k drops out. Continuing claims, delayed by a week, and now capturing any behavioral changes with back to school and the end of bonus unemployment benefits, fell to 2.71mm from 2.81mm in the week prior and that is 50k less than expected. This does match the lowest since Covid ramped up the count. Lastly, we know the pandemic assistance has ended so the numbers seen are just legacy related processing.
I’m going to steal my bottom line from my bottom line last Thursday: many businesses can’t find enough workers to fill spots as we know but others in response because of lower business, like in the auto sector, have to cut back on workers in order to cut costs or need to close factories due to a lack of parts. Some businesses too that are experiencing aggressive cost inflation have slowed hiring to protect margins. I think these are reasons why we haven’t yet seen a 2 handle in initial jobless claims as we did pre Covid.
One more thing, in September continuing claims have fallen by 138k in light of the benefit related changes and back to school hopefully easing parental child care needs.