In the week ending the 29th of September, US initial jobless claims rose slightly, but less than was expected. Initial jobless claims rose from an upwardly revised 363 000 to 367 000, while the consensus was looking for an increase to 370 000. The less volatile, four-week moving average stayed unchanged at 375 000 in the week ending the 29th of September. In the previous weeks, initial claims were extremely volatile due to the Tropical Storm Isaac and the Labour Day market holiday. We believe that the volatility should have reduced somewhat as the claims are now again at more reliable levels. Nevertheless, skipping out the weekly volatility, the trend in jobless claims seems sideways, at best, showing no signs of further improvement. The Labour Department added that there were no special factors in today’s claims data. Continuing claims, which are reported with an extra week lag, came out slightly above expectations. Continuing claims stayed unchanged at an upwardly revised 3 281 000, while an outcome of 3 275 000 was forecast.
In August, US factory orders dropped by 5.2% M/M, slightly less than was expected (-5.9% M/M). The previous figure was however downwardly revised from 2.8% M/M to 2.6% M/M. The breakdown shows that weakness was based in durable goods orders (-13.2% M/M), as we already knew. Non-durable orders on the contrary rose by 2.2% M/M. The increase in non-durables was however led by petroleum and coal products orders which increased by 6.9% M/M in August. The inventory to shipments ratio increased slightly, from 1.27 to 1.28. The sharp decline in factory orders is no surprise after we received already the durables figures. While factory orders are slightly stronger, we see few reasons for optimism.