Continuing US Jobless Claims Hit 17-Yr Lows
$DIA, $SPY, $QQQ, $VXX
New applications for US jobless benefits fell more than expected last week and the number of Americans on unemployment rolls marking 17-yr lows, pointing to a tightening labor market that may encourage the Fed to raise interest rates at the 13-14 June meeting.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 238,000 for the week ended 29 April, the US Labor Department said Thursday. The decline unwound most of the prior 2 weeks’ increases in applications.
Economists say claims were distorted in recent weeks by the Easter Holiday and Spring Breaks, which occur at different dates every year, making it difficult to strip the seasonal fluctuations from the data.
Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 113 straight weeks. That is the longest such stretch since Y 1970, when the labor market was smaller. The labor market is close to full employment, with the unemployment rate at a near 10-year low of 4.5%.
The FOMC Wednesday kept its benchmark overnight interest rate unchanged and said it expected labor market conditions would “strengthen somewhat further.”
Officials at the Fed also viewed the sluggish 0.7% annualized economic growth pace in Q-1 as likely “transitory” and expected economic activity to expand at a “moderate” pace.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 1st-time applications for jobless benefits falling to 247,000 last week.
Thursday, the US major stock market indexes finished at: DJIA -6.43 at 20951.47, NAS Comp +2.79 at 6075.32, S&P 500 +1.39at 2389.52
Volume: Trade on the NYSE came in at heavy again with 1.16-B/shares exchanged.
- NAS Comp +12.9% YTD
- S&P 500 +6.7% YTD
- DJIA+6.0% YTD
- Russell 2000 +2.3% YTD
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