Initial Jobless Claims totaled 479k, 24k above forecasts and up from a revised 460k last week. The level of claims is now the highest since early April but the entire month of July has been influenced by the auto plant shutdowns or lack thereof with respect to GM. The 4 week average, valuable to smooth out the weekly lumpiness, totaled 459k vs 453k last week, a 4 week high. Continuing Claims fell by 34k but were 22k above estimates. With the extension of unemployment benefits passed by Congress, net Extended Benefits rose by 258k. Bottom line, notwithstanding the seasonal noise in July, the level of claims remains stubbornly high and still point to a sluggish labor market. While tomorrow we will hopefully see an expected 90k added to the private sector roles, the pace remains below what is needed to absorb the monthly additions to the labor force.
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