The labor market keeps tightening as initial jobless claims fell 8,000 in the July 14 week to a 207,000 level that is the lowest since December 1969. The July 14 week was the sample week for the July employment report and a comparison with the sample week of the June employment report, when claims came in at what was a very low 218,000, is modestly favorable. But the signal from the comparison of 4-week averages is flat, at 220,500 in the latest week vs 221,000 back in mid-June.
Continuing claims, where data lag by a week, rose 8,000 with this 4-week average up 6,000 to 1.738 million. These are small moves for these readings which are both near lows last seen in the early 1970s. The unemployment rate for insured workers remains at 1.2 percent.
Timing and related adjustments in the statistics for summer retooling shutdowns in the auto sector are always wildcards at this time of year, yet the signal from this report is nevertheless very clear: demand for labor is unusually strong.