Demand for labor remains unusually strong with initial jobless claims remaining near historic lows, down 13,000 in the November 18 week to 239,000. Puerto Rico, still recovering from Hurricane Maria in September, continues to inflate the total but only modestly, remaining about three times as high as normal but contained, at 6,944 vs 6,690 in the prior week.
Continuing claims are also holding at historic lows, at 1.904 million in lagging data for the November 11 week. The unemployment rate for insured workers did tick 1 tenth higher but also remains near historic lows, at only 1.4 percent.
This report will firm expectations for another solidly positive monthly employment report and should confirm expectations for a rate hike at next month's FOMC.