In the week ending the 8th of September, US initial jobless claims picked up again. Initial claims rose from an upwardly revised 367 000 to 382 000, while only a slight increase to 370 000 was forecast. The Labour Department added that several states reported increases in claims due to the tropical storm Isaac. In unadjusted terms, the tropical storm would have added approximately 9 000. Besides the effects of Isaac, the week under review included also the Labour Day holiday which might have led to some distortions too. As a result, the 4-week moving average increased to 375 000 from 371 750.
Continuing claims, which are reported with an extra week lag, surprised on the downside of expectations. Continuing claims fell by 49 000, from 3 332 000 in the week ending August the 25th to 3 283 000 in the week ending the first of September. A drop to 3 318 000 was forecast. US initial jobless claims are again at the highest level since the second week of July when the claims experienced volatility due to the automotive plant shutdown. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t draw strong conclusions from these data as they were distorted by several factors. In the coming weeks, we hope to see the claims trending again somewhat lower.
After reaching its lowest level since late 2009, US PPI inflation picked sharply up in August. The annual rate of PPI rose from 0.5% Y/Y to 2.0% Y/Y, while a more moderate increase to 1.6% Y/Y was forecast. On a monthly basis, PPI picked up by 1.7% M/M led by higher prices for gasoline (13.6% M/M), energy (6.4% M/M), residential gas (1.0% M/M) and foods (0.9% M/M). Core PPI, which excludes food and energy prices, increased by a more moderate 0.2% M/M. The annual rate stayed unchanged at 2.5% Y/Y, while a pick up to 2.6% Y/Y was forecast. Upward price pressures were mainly based in energy, while core producer prices rose only slightly, compared with the previous month. Overall, underlying price pressures will probably remain muted as the increase in food and energy prices will probably be only temporary.