In the week ending the 18th of August, US initial jobless claims rose for a second straight week, to reach the highest level since the second week of July. Initial claims rose by 4 000, from an upwardly revised 368 000 to 372 000. The consensus was looking for a marginal decline to 365 000. The less volatile 4-week moving average edged up too, increasing from 364 250 to 368 000.
The Labour Department added that there were no special factors in yesterday’s claims data. After a very volatile July, due to auto plant shutdowns, the jobless claims are again more stable this month, but the trend remains broadly sideways. The week under review is the survey week for the BLS’s payrolls report. Compared with last month, the claims are up, casting doubts whether last month’s strong payrolls outcome will be sustained this month. Continuing claims, which are reported with an extra week lag, surprised on the upside too. In the week ended the 11th of August, continuing claims rose from an upwardly revised 3 313 000 to 3 317 000, while a decline to 3 300 000 was forecast.