Weekly jobless claims are no longer the best news on the economic calendar. With no surprise factors at play, initial claims rose 13,000 in the April 7 week to 380,000 for the highest level since late January. The four-week average is up an especially steep 4,250 to 368,500 which is the highest level in a month. These results do not point to improvement in the jobs market.
Other data include the fifth straight decline for continuing claims, down 98,000 to 3.251 million in data for the March 31 week. The four-week average is down 36,000 to 3.334 million, which in contrast to initial claims, is a new recovery low. The unemployment rate for insured workers, at 2.6 percent, is unchanged for a third week at a recovery low.
Disappointing payroll growth in last week's employment report for March is a reminder that fewer layoffs do not necessarily mean new hiring. And now that the downward trend in layoffs has flattened the last couple of weeks, the outlook for improvement for the April jobs report is not favorable. This report will likely be a negative factor for today's stock market.
Market Consensus before announcement
Initial jobless claims in the March 31 week declined 6,000 to 357,000. The four-week average was down a sizable 4,250 to 361,750. The latest week's level and the level for the four-week average were both recovery lows.