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Jobless Claims Hit Fresh Post-Covid Low: 340K

Initial Jobless Claims reached a new post-Covid low this morning at 340K, down from the 345K estimated and the slight upward revision to the previous...

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Thursday, September 2, 2021



A fairly busy Thursday morning on the economic metrics front, which, as per normal, include Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims results for last week and the previous week, respectively. For the most part, this morning’s reads are moving in the right direction; in any case, they haven’t caused pre-market indexes to trade out of the green at this hour.



Initial Jobless Claims reached a new post-Covid low: 340K, down from the 345K estimated and the slight upward revision to the previous week’s 354K. These numbers are at last approaching “normal” jobless claims levels, though we still have a ways to go until we’re back to our robust labor market lows of roughly two years ago.



Continuing Claims, from a week in arrears, also reached a fresh post-Covid low: 2.748 million is a nice step down from the upwardly revised 2.908 million from the week prior. And, as initial claims have the added benefit of being a proxy for future continuing claims (within limits), this could portend good things next week on longer-term jobless claims, as well.



Our U.S. Trade Balance for July cooled a bit to -$70.1 billion, better than the -$70.9 billion expected. Importantly, the initial June print has been revised in the right direction, as well: its first look of -$75.7 billion had been the lowest point in 29 years; this has now been revised to -$73.2 billion. It’s still a ghastly number, but now the all-time low trade deficit goes back to -$75.025 billion we saw for March this year.



Q2 Productivity was revised this morning, down 30 basis points from expectations to +2.1%, and -20 points from the original report. Q2 Unit Labor Costs were revised upward (instead of downward, as expected) to +1.3% — above the +1.0% we saw in the first go-around. So while we’re seeing decent productivity in the U.S. economy even with the downward revision, we are seeing workforce costs rising noticeably.



After today’s open, we’ll also get new reads on Factory Orders and Core Capital Goods. More grist for the mill for economists in determining the strength in the economy as this summer winds to a close. (That was quick, wasn’t it?) And, of course, tomorrow brings us the all-important U.S. government nonfarm payroll report, aka the Employment Situation. Estimates are for around 720K new jobs having been created last month.



Markets remain in the green nearly a half-hour before today’s open, with the Dow +100 points, the S&P 500 +12 and the Nasdaq +48 points. The Nasdaq looks to set a fresh all-time closing high this afternoon, while the S&P looks to regain its all-time high after a couple weaker trading days. The Dow, on the other hand, looks to break a three-day losing streak this week.



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