Drop in U.S. jobless claims points to labor market strength

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The variety of Americans submitting for unemployment advantages fell final week, an indication the labor market was holding agency regardless of tensions between the United States and its buying and selling companions which have led to tit-for-tat tariffs.

People wait in line at a stand through the Executive Branch Job Fair hosted by the Conservative Partnership Institute on the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, U.S., June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan

Initial claims for state unemployment advantages slipped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 210,000 for the week ended Aug. 18, the Labor Department stated on Thursday.

It was the third straight week of declines for claims, which have dropped so low that economists have scrambled for explanations. In July, claims fell to their lowest stage since 1969 though the workforce is far bigger than in prior many years.

Economists polled by Reuters forward of Thursday’s report had forecast claims rising to 215,000 in the newest week.

“At this rate, we will be talking about a new low again pretty soon,” stated Stephen Stanley​, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities.

Prices of longer-dated U.S. Treasuries had been buying and selling barely greater whereas U.S. inventory costs had been combined. The greenback .DXY was stronger towards a basket of currencies.

A separate report from the Commerce Department displaying a fall in gross sales of latest properties gave recent indications of a cooling U.S. housing market.

But the strength in the U.S. labor market has been a key motive behind the Federal Reserve’s ongoing marketing campaign to increase rates of interest.

Minutes of the U.S. central financial institution’s final coverage assembly, revealed on Wednesday, confirmed officers mentioned elevating charges quickly to counter extreme financial strength, though policymakers additionally examined how international commerce disputes might batter companies and households.

The Fed has already raised charges twice this 12 months and is broadly anticipated to achieve this once more in September.

The claims knowledge is being intently watched for indicators of layoffs because of the Trump administration’s protectionist commerce coverage, which has led to an escalating commerce struggle with China and tit-for-tat import tariffs with buying and selling companions, together with the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

While there have been stories of some corporations both shedding staff or planning to because of the import duties, that’s not but evident in the claims knowledge.

Thursday’s claims report confirmed “no sign of disruption in the U.S. economy despite recent trade policy tensions,” stated Jesse Edgerton, an economist with J.P. Morgan.

Economists say a sturdy economic system helps the labor market climate the commerce storm.

The Labor Department stated knowledge for Maine had been estimated in the newest week. The four-week shifting common of preliminary claims, thought-about a greater measure of labor market developments because it irons out week-to-week volatility, dropped 1,750 final week to 213,750.

The claims report additionally confirmed the variety of individuals receiving advantages after an preliminary week of assist dropped 2,000 to 1.73 million for the week ended Aug. 11. The four-week shifting common of the so-called persevering with claims fell 5,000 to 1.74 million.

Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Paul Simao

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