Initial Claims totaled 608k, 4k more than consensus and up from 605k last week which was revised up by 4k. The 4 week average fell to 616k from 623k, the lowest since Feb. The real surprise though in today’s data was Continuing Claims that were 153k less than expected and down 148k from last week’s record high. It’s the first weekly drop since Jan and at 6.687mm it’s at a 4 week low. The insured unemployment rate fell .1% to 5% from last week’s highest level since 1982. Expectations for June payrolls are for a drop of 400k. As the economy has stabilized at still weak levels, it has of course lent support to optimism that the stabilization is a precursor to growth. With this belief, employers grow more reluctant to fire people on the hopes that when business picks up they will be needed and a corollary is that some employers take advantage of the available pool of workers and start to hire in anticipation of a pickup in demand. Fingers crossed.
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