For the third week in a row, initial claims held at improved levels. Initial claims are unchanged in the May 12 week at 370,000. The May 5 week, which is revised slightly upward, is also at 370,000 while the week before that, the April 28 week, is at 368,000. It is the April 28 week that, after several prior weeks near 400,000, marks a return to the prior trend of 360,000 and 370,000 levels.
The four-week average is down sizably for a second week, down 4,750 to 375,000. This is about the same level as the average was in mid April. Lack of change here points to little change for the monthly employment report which for April was a disappointment.
Continuing claims have been trending strongly lower though the latest data show a small rise to 3.265 million. But the four-week average is down slightly to 3.283 million with the unemployment rate for insured workers holding at a recovery low of 2.6 percent.
There are no special factors distorting the data. Though claims aren't breaking lower, the good news is that they are holding steady.
Market Consensus before announcement
Initial jobless claims in the May 5 week edged lower to 367,000 following the prior week's slightly revised 368,000. These mark a return to the 360,000 levels in March. The four-week average illustrates the improvement, down for the first time in five weeks to show a sizable 5,250 decrease to 379,000. Continuing claims are extending their long contraction, down 61,000 in the data for the April 28 week to 3.229 million. The four-week average is down 11,000 to 3.290 million.