Initial jobless claims fell and the four-week moving average of new claims also dropped, presenting growing evidence that labor markets may finally be stabilizing.
Initial claims fell 21,000 to 530,000 in the week ended Sept. 19, while economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a rise of 5,000. The four-week moving average of new claims also fell 11,000 to 553,500.
But while the trend’s improving, levels still remain elevated, signaling a recovery in the labor market won’t happen overnight.
“Of course, there is always the dark cloud to the silver lining,” The Economist’s Free Exchange blog says. Half a million new jobless claims every week is still terrible. And, as Calculated Risk points out, the four-week average likely has to drop below 400,000 before total employment stops falling.
“As is typically the case with positive economic data these days, the news is good, but the hole is deep,” Free Exchange says.