Home Sales in June Fall for 6th Straight Month; Inventory Improves

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • The pace of existing home sales – closed sales — FELL 0.6 percent, 30,000, in June a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 5.38 million;
  • The May sales rate was REVISED DOWN 20,000 to 5.41 million;
  • Median price of an existing single-family home ROSE 4.5 percent, $11,800, to $276,900;
  • Year-year the median price is up 5.2 percent or $13,600;
  • Number of homes available for sale ROSE 80,000 or 43. percent to 1.95 million;
  • The months’ supply of homes for sale in June was UP 0.2 months to 4.3 months.

Trends:

  • Existing home sales (closings) FELL for the third straight month and year-year sales were down 2.4 percent, the fourth month in a row year-year have slipped;
  • Number of homes for sale INCREASED for the sixth straight month, to the highest level since October 2016;
  • The median price of an existing single-family home ROSE for the sixth straight month;
  • The median price of an existing single-family home in the West topped $400,000 for the first time since the NAR began reporting sales and prices in 1999.

Data Source: National Association of Realtors: (NAR) tinyurl.com

 

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Housing doldrums continued in June though, if Freddie Mac’s analysis is correct, there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

At about the same time the National Association of Realtors (NAR) was issuing its report on June existing home sales, Freddie Mac issued its July housing forecast which blamed weak sales on a low inventory of existing homes for sale.

According to the NAR report, the number of existing homes for sale increased in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.95 million. It was the sixth straight month the inventory has increased, a jump 33.6 percent over that span. For the first time in more than three years (since June 2015), inventory is up year over year. The months’ supply of new homes (calculated as the inventory divided by the sales pace) reached its highest level, 4.3, since October 2016.

Though not cited by the NAR as an explanation, the tax law changes which capped the deductibility of real estate taxes has had an impact as well. Since the tax law took effect in January, the pace of housing sales has fallen 4.1 percent in the Northeast and Western regions (combined) where real estate taxes are the highest and just 2.8 in the Midwest and South combined.

Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday, on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:20 am Eastern Time. You can follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

1st Time Unemployment Insurance Claims Fall to 49-year low

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 207,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended July 14 a DECREASE of 8.000 from the prior week’s upwardly revised (214,000 to 215,000) report;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims DROPPED 2,750 to 220,500;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.142 percent of employment, DOWN from 0.143 the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who have been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,751,000 for the week ended July 7, UP 8,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,743,000 (revised from 1,739,000);
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims ROSE 6,250 to 1,735,750.

Trends:

  • Year-to-date, initial claims have averaged 237,825, down 2.6 percent from the 241,207 year-to-date average in 2017;
  • The 207,000 initial claims filings are the lowest since December 6, 1969, when there were 202,000 first -time filings;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims increased in consecutive weeks for the first time since April;

Data Source: Department of Labor 

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Time to party like its 1969?

It should be as initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to the lowest level since December 1969 and threaten to go even lower based on data in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey which show the number of job openings exceeding the number of unemployed.

 

Of course, the companion data – as reported in the Employment Situation report issued the first Friday of each month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics – don’t appear to reflect just how tight the labor market is with hourly and weekly earnings not ratcheting up as the law of supply and demand would suggest.

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, issued Wednesday for the six weeks ended July 9, reflected the paradoxical data.

“Employment continued to rise at a modest to moderate pace in most Districts,” according to the Beige Book. “Labor markets were described as tight, with most Districts reporting firms had difficulty finding qualified labor. Shortages were cited across a wide range of occupations, including highly skilled engineers, specialized construction and manufacturing workers, IT professionals, and truck drivers; some Districts indicated labor shortages were constraining growth. Districts noted firms were adding work hours, strengthening retention efforts, partnering with local schools, and converting temporary workers to permanent, as well as raising compensation to attract and retain employees. On balance, wage increases were modest to moderate, with some differences across sectors; a couple of Districts cited a pickup in the pace of wage growth.”

Indeed, according to the BLS report on “Real Earnings” (adjusted for inflation), hourly earnings are up just 0.1 percent June and for the 12-months ended last June are unchanged.

“From June 2017 to June 2018, real average hourly earnings decreased 0.2 percent, seasonally adjusted. Combining the change in real average hourly earnings with a 0.3-percent increase in the average workweek resulted in no change to real average weekly earnings over this period,” the BLS reported.

The unemployment insurance claims data suggest unemployment could show a decline drop in July when the BLS issues its next employment situation release. From mid-June to mid-July (the “reference” weeks used by BLS) first-time claims for unemployment insurance dropped 11,000 and the four-week moving average of initial filings fell 500 suggesting fewer layoffs. Offsetting that however, the tighter labor market could result in individuals who had dropped out of the labor force rejoining. Once those individuals resume looking for work, they would meet one of the three tests to be counted as “unemployed.” (The other two tests are out-of-work and available for work.)

You can hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124.

Construction Activity Slips in June

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • The rate of housing starts in June FELL 12.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 1.17 million units;
  • The pace of single-family starts DROPPED 9.1 percent and multi-family starts TUMBLED 19.8 percent from May levels;
  • The rate of permits for new homes filed in June also FELL, down 2.2 percent to an SAAR of 1.27 million units;
  • The rate of permit filings for multi-family homes ROSE 0.8 percent in June while permits for multi-family housing units FELL 7.6 percent;
  • The rate of home completions in June was UNCHANGED from May as the 5.3 percent month-month increase in the rate of multi-family rate of completions offset the 2.3 drop in the pace of single-family home completions.

Trends:

  • Housing permits (single-and multi-family) have now declined three months in a row and the SAAR is at its slowest pace since last September;
  • Permits for single-family homes represented 66.8 percent of all permits in June, up from 64.8 percent in May;
  • At the same time, single-family homes accounted for 73.1 percent of all starts, the highest share since last August.

Data Source: Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development 

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With the cost of home-building materials increasing, permits and starts for the construction of new homes fell to the lowest level in nine months.

Whether the decline was indeed due to higher material prices or demographics is uncertain. Studies by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard and Freddie Mac suggest millennials are not buying homes at the same pace as their parents, a factor builders may take into consideration before applying for a building permit or putting a shovel in the ground.

And, even before the most recent round of tariffs called for by President Trump, the cost of 1,000 board feet of western Canadian lumber is up nearly 80 percent over the past 12 months, including about 40 percent this year, according to data from Random Lengths, a publication that covers the lumber market.

Add to that the tariff-driven increase in steel and aluminum and the building costs could put the cost of a new home out of reach for younger buyers who themselves could be struggling with student loans.

Rolled together, that could explain why the Housing Market Index, a measure of builder confidence, was flat in July as an increase in buyer traffic offset a drop in the outlook for sales six months out.

The report on permits and starts also suggested some relief for inventories as the report also noted the pace completions of single-family homes slipped slightly in June.

Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on POTUS Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

1st Time Unemployment Insurance Claims Resume Decline

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 214,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended July 7 a DECREASE of 18.000 from the prior week’s report;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims DROPPED 1,750 to 222,000;
  • The number of initial claims for the week ended June 29 was revised up 1,000 to 232,000;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.143 percent of employment, DOWN from 0.144 the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims –individuals who have been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,739,000 for the week ended June 30, DOWN 3,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,742,000 (revised from 1,739,000);
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims ROSE 9,500 to 1,728,500.

Trends:

  • The drop in the number of initial claims completely wiped out the increase in filings in the prior two weeks (up 10,000 for the week ended June 23 and up 4,000 for the week ended June 30);
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims increased for the first time since the week ended April 7;

Data Source: Department of Labor

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The data set of first time claims for unemployment insurance resumed its downward trajectory after a two-week hiccup due to a resumption of pre-Hurricane processes in the U.S. Virgin Islands (where claims rose from 10,000 to 22,000) and the furloughs of auto workers in Michigan (where claims rose by more than 9,000) as auto plants continued their annual retooling for new models.

Beyond those anomalies, the claims report continued to reflect good news about the tight labor market. Indeed, the weekly report echoed the signals from the Job Opening and Labor Turnover report earlier this week which (although for May) showed a sharp, 8.3 percent, in layoffs and discharges. As a percentage of all separations, layoffs and discharges fell to 29.0 percent, lowest since the JOLTS report began in 2000.

The drop in continued claims was also presaged by JOLTS data which showed the number of hires in May at 5.75 million, the highest monthly total ever recorded in the series.

The unemployment insurance claims data suggest little or no impact of the influx of previously unemployed workers to the total labor force (employed plus unemployed). The Bureau of Labor Statistics last week reported the number of re-entrants to the labor force at 2.086 million, the largest total since February 1987, an increase of 204,000 from May. The month-month change was the largest since December 2012.

You can hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124.

Job Openings Dip in May But Remain Above Unemployment; Hires at 17+ Year High

 By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights:

  • Job openings at the end of May SLIPPED 3.0 percent to 6.4 million from April but remained above unemployment in May of 6.1 million;
  • The number of hires ROSE 3.1 percent to 5.75 million in May
  • The ratio of job openings per unemployed ROSE to 1.09 in May;

Trends:

  • Job openings exceeded unemployed for the third month in a row;
  • The number of hires in May reached its highest level since January 2001;
  • The ratio of quits to layoffs – a sign of confidence in the labor market – was 2.2 to one in May meaning more than twice as many people left jobs voluntarily as were laid off;

Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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The JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) report for May showed a continuation of the trend we’ve seen in the labor market for several months with available jobs remaining unfilled as a skills mismatch among workers continues.

The job openings data tracks new jobs as reported in the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly Employment Situation report. Indeed, while the monthly report is a snapshot of the labor market, the JOLTS data resemble more of a moving picture.

And, that picture has been generating rave reviews, certainly when converted to a six-month moving average to smooth some of the volatility in the monthly numbers.

The JOLTS report of job openings by industry also suggests an uptick in reported hourly and weekly earnings as some of the higher paying industry sectors: business and professional services, construction and health and education services showed relatively high ratios of unemployed to job openings. For example, the ratio was 3.6 to one in professional and business services, more than double the 1.7 to one ratio in April.

In the construction sector as well, the ratio of job openings to unemployed was 1.7 to one in May, up from 1.5 to one in April.

At the other end of the scale, the lower-paying leisure and hospitality sector had an opening to unemployed ratio of 0.5 to one in May, down slightly from 0.6 to one in April. Trade (encompassing both retail and wholesale trade) had a ratio of 0.7 to one in May down from A[til when there were 1.2 job openings for every person unemployed in that sector.

The JOLTS report projected the nation was on a pace for just under 67 million hires in 2018, up about 2.6 percent over 2017 and the highest total since the BLS began publishing JOLTS data in 2000.

The May JOLTS report suggest a pace for the number of layoffs and discharges in 2018 of 19.8 million, down from the 20.6 million layoffs and discharges in 2017 and the lowest total since the JOLTS data has been published.

You can hear Mark Lieberman on P.O.T.U.S Morning Briefing (Sirius 124) every Friday at 6:20 am Eastern Time. Follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

Economy Adds 213K jobs in June; Unemployment Rate Up to 4.0% but Earnings Increase Slows

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • Number of payroll jobs INCREASED 213,000 in June;
  • Unemployment rate in June INCREASED to 4.0 percent, the first month-month increase since last August;
  • Average weekly earnings ROSE $1.72 to $930.81, a 2.7 percent year-year gain, down from a 3.0 percent year-year gain in May;
  • Average hourly earnings GREW 5¢, in June a 2.7 percent annual increase
  • Private sector jobs INCREASED 202,000;
  • Number of multiple jobholders grew 177,000, 83.1 percent of total increase in jobs
  • Prior month job totals REVISED a net 37,000: UP 21,000 in May to a growth of 244,000 jobs (from 223,000) UP in April to a gain of 175,000 (from the last report of a 159,000 increase);
  • The number of persons unemployed ROSE 499,000 as 204,000 individuals re-entered the labor force as “unemployed;”
  • Number of long-term unemployed (27 weeks or longer) ROSE 289,000 largest month-month increase since March 2010;
  • The number of person employed ROSE, by 102,000;
  • Average weekly hours REMAINED at 34.5 in June;
  • Labor force – ROSE 601,000 in June;
  • The number of persons NOT in the labor force FELL 413,000; labor force participation rate ROSE2 percentage points to 62.9 percent;
  • Employment-Population ratio REMAINED at 60.4 percent,
  • Number of retail jobs FELL 21,600, one of only two sectors to lose jobs (Utility jobs dipped 300);
  • Temporary jobs and part-time grew a combined 154,300;

Trends:

  • In the first six months of the year, the economy added 1.29 million jobs compared with 1.1 million in the first six months of 2017;
  • Number of full-time jobs FELL 89,000 in June, after a 904,0000 gain in May;
  • The month-month increase in the number of persons unemployed was the largest since November 2010, when the ranks of unemployed swelled by 565,000
  • Part-time jobs represented 17.4.0 percent of employment in June, up 0.1 percentage points from May;

Data Source Bureau of Labor Statistics

Image result for employment situation reportThen June Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has almost as many warning signs as positive points.

While there is certainly good news in the month job growth, it is offset by the data showing a good chunk of those new jobs went to individual who already had jobs (multiple job holders),

On the surface it appears the strong market report in May which showed a drop in the unemployment rate drew individuals back into the labor force which led directly to an increase in the June unemployment rate.

But the unemployment rate rose without the re-entrants to the ranks of unemployed, up from 2.6 percent in May to 2.8 percent in June, matching precisely the increase in the overall unemployment rate.

At the same time the “long-term” unemployment capturing those out-of-work for 27 weeks or more as a percentage of the entire labor force rose to 0.9 percent in June from 0.7 percent in May. (The headline unemployment rate is also calculated as a percentage of the total labor force.)

The month’s drop in retail employment 21,600, was the steepest since December and suggests the tax cut – which kicked in in February with a lowering of withholding rates putting more money is the pockets of wage-earners – has not had the expected stimulative impact on the economy writ large.

Indeed, the improved hiring picture hasn’t had much of an impact on earnings which rose 2,7 percent year-year in June. Though the labor market remains tight – at least on paper – employers don’t appear to be trying to lure new hires with better pay. The number of “job leavers” those who are unemployed because they voluntarily left one job to get another, dipped in 41,000 June.

Perhaps the brightest view of the June report came in the widespread increase in jobs from an industry perspective. Retail trade and the utilities sector were the only two to show a drop in jobs in June.

The manufacturing sector showed its strongest month-month increase of the year adding 36,000 jobs. The construction sector added 13,000 jobs but jobs involving construction of residential homes added just 4,000 jobs reflecting the weak home sales market and the price increases for new homes stemming from increased tariffs. Lumber priced have been particularly affected by tariff increases.

Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday morning at 6:20 am on The Morning Briefing on POTUS on Sirius-XM 124. You can follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

1st Time Unemployment Insurance Claims Increase; Continued Claims Average Again at 45-year Low

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 227,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended June 23 an INCREASE of 9.000 from the prior week’s report;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims EDGED UP 1,000 to 222,000;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.143 percent of employment, UP from 0.142 the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims –individuals who have been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,705,000 for the week ended June 16, DOWN 21,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,726,000 (revised from 1,723,000);
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 3,750 to 1,719,500.

Trends:

  • The increase in the number of initial claim filings was the first since May 19 and was also the largest since then
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims dropped for the tenth straight week;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims fell again to its lowest level since December 8, 1973, when it was 1,715,500.

Data Source: Department of Labor

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The increase in first-time claims for unemployment insurance did little to knock the labor market off course, in part because of the plethora of job openings. Indeed, those job openings contributed to the steady decline in continued claims (as measured by the four-week moving average). The continued claims series loosely reflects the pace of hiring which remains robust.

This report firmed the mid-month comparisons of claims and showed initial claims fell 5,000 from mid -May to mid-June. The four-week moving average of initial claims, however, increase 7,500 or almost 4.0 percent in the last month. The two data points send mixed signals about the trend for employment and the unemployment rate when the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its Employment Situation Report a week from tomorrow.

Continued claims dropped 37,000 from mid-May to mid-June while the four-week moving average is down 32,500 or 7.0 percent. The “streak” of 10 straight weekly declines in the four-week moving average stretches still longer: 18 of the last 20 weeks. The four-week moving average of continued claims declined for 12 consecutive weeks from August 27, 201,6 through November 12, following a similar stretch from February 13 to April 30 that year.

An interesting note is the absence of any real impact on the claims filings of the retooling of auto plants as manufacturers gear up for a new model year. Auto workers furloughed during that period. First time claims in Michigan (not seasonally adjusted) though did increase more than 25 percent to 5,529 for the week ended June 23.

You can hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124.

Pending Home Sales Index Down Again in May

Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights:

  • National Association of Realtors’ May Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) FELL 0.5 percent from April to 105.9;
  • Year-year the index was DOWN 2.5 percentage points;

Trends:

  • The May decrease was the third in five months this year;
  • Index is down year-year for the five straight months;
  • PHSI is essentially tracking the Census Bureau’s new homes report (also based on contracts for sale) which was flat in January and rose in February and March

Data Source: National Association of Realtors (NAR)

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In another blow to the home sale market, the NAR’s pending home sales index dropped again in May, the third decline this year, as home sales face new challenges in fears of a recession and higher interest rates.

Since the beginning of the year the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, according to Freddie Mac, has risen for 3.95 percent to 4.57 percent, raring the average monthly payment (excluding insurance and taxes) on a $300,000 mortgage from $1,425 to $1,534.

Realtors already face significant challenges as, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies which said in its annual State of the Nation’s Housing report stagnant wage growth is stifling home ownership in the U.S.

Although the homeownership rate rose last year, the report noted the year-year increase was the first in 13 years. Homeownership, the report said, is down 8.2 percent among 35-44 years-olds and down 6.3 percent for 25-34-year-olds since 1987, the first year of the annual report.

The 2018 study said the profile of homeowners has changed since the initial study and is older.

“The overall aging of the US population has important implications for housing markets, with 65–74-year olds now the fastest-growing age group,” the report said. “Since older adults generally live in established households and strongly prefer to remain in their homes as they age, they have not historically added significantly to new housing demand. But given the size of the baby-boom generation, households headed by persons age 65 and over will continue to grow at an unprecedented pace in the next decade, increasing the presence of older households in both the homeowner and rental markets.”

In addition to demographics, would-be younger home-buyers carry a significant student loan debt burden which adds another hurdle to the mortgage process.

The NAR’s pending home sales report had been tracing closely the Census Bureau’s similar report on (pending) new home sales, but has begun to diverge. The government report on new home sales (contracts for sale) showed a sharp increase in May.

Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on POTUS Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

New Home Sales Up in May as Prices Drop Despite Increase in Material Costs

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights:

  • Pace of contracts for new home sales ROSE 6.7 percent in May to 689,000 (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate);
  • Unsold inventory increased 3,000 in May to 299,000 computing to a 5.2-month supply, down from 5.5 months in April;
  • Median price of a new home DROPPED $5,500 from April to $313,000;
  • Year-year the median price of a new home was DOWN $10,600 (4.8 percent)

Trends:

  • The increase in the pace of sales was the strongest since last November when sales rose 15.2 percent month-month;
  • The median price of a new single-family home dropped for the second straight month and is at its lowest level since April 2017 ($311,100);

Data Source: Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development

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Led by a surge of home-buying in the South, new home sales spurted in May with the strongest month-month gain since last November. The increase in sales (contracts) in the South was consistent with the increase in housing permits in that region in April.

The drop in the median price of a new single-family home did not reflect the higher cost of building materials resulting from the imposition of higher tariffs by the Trump Administration. The drop in the median price – while reflecting a change in buyer activity – cane before the impact of higher prices for lumber (affecting framing and roof shingles).

In May, 46 percent of homes sold carried a price tag of less than $300,000, the highest percentage since last June.

Still, the new home sales report confirmed the still high level of builder confidence in the Housing Market Index for June. The Index, compiled by the National Association of Home Builders was down two points from May at 68. Any reading above 50 is considered positive.

 

Hear Mark Lieberman on P.O.T.U.S. (Sirius-XM 124) Friday at 6:20 am Eastern Time. You can follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

Unemployment Insurance Claims Fall Again; Continued Claims Average at 45-year Low

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 218,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended June 16 a DECREASE of 3.000 from the prior week’s UPWARDLY REVISED (from 218,000 to 221,000) report;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims FELL 4,000 to 221,000;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.142 percent of employment, DOWN from 0.145 the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims –individuals who have been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,723,000 for the week ended June 9, UP 22,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,701,000 (revised from 1,697,000);
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 39,750 to 1,773,750.

Trends:

  • The number of initial claim filings fell for the fourth straight week;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims dropped for the ninth straight week;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims fell again to its lowest level since December 8, 1973, when it was 1,715,500.
  • The Four-week moving average of continued claims has fallen in 12 of the last 14 weeks

Data Source: Department of Labor 

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With the report a couple of weeks back that the number of job openings was larger than the number of persons counted as unemployed (according to preliminary numbers for May and “final” numbers for April), it follows that unemployment claims should remain on a downward trend.

Occasional spikes in the number of continued claims reflect a skills mismatch and don’t detract from the positive labor market news.

What doesn’t follow though is stagnant wages although the report on May payrolls showed average weekly earnings up 3.0 percent year-year, the average annual growth rate remains far below pre-recession levels.

 You can hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124.