Economic Data Roundup (01/11/2018)

1/11/18 12:00 PM

iStock-137044062.jpgA new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that first-time claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week by 11K to 261K. That was the highest headline reading since September, but perhaps only a temporary setback related to the extra staff brought on by retailers ahead of the holiday shopping season being let go.

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More importantly, initial jobless claims have held below 300K for 149 weeks in a row, one of the longest streaks on record and more impressive now since the workforce is much larger. Further, the number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits for longer than a single week, i.e. continued claims, has maintained its long-term downtrend and ended 2017 at the lowest level in nearly half a century. Altogether, incoming claims data remain consistent with an overall healthy labor market, and a shortage of skilled workers that is making companies hesitant to let employees go.

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Sources: Econoday, U.S. DoL, ZH, Bloomberg, FRBSL

Post author: Charles Couch