It’s Jobless Thursday
Initial unemployment claims remain low, but rose slightly last week:
New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, indicating a strong labor market in which employers are holding on to their workers amid high demand.
Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, rose by 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 202,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, up from the week before when they reached a revised 188,000, matching the lowest level in more than 52 years reached back in December. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility, decreased to 208,500 from a revised 212,000. ,
Continuing claims, a proxy for the total number of people receiving payments from state unemployment programs, moved slightly down to 1.3 million for the week ended March 19 from the previous week. Continuing claims are reported with a one-week lag.
We also have some consumer spending numbers coming out, and unlike the initial claims, they appear to show clouds on the horizon:
Consumer spending growth, a key engine of the economy, slowed sharply in February, as the Omicron surge of Covid-19 eased and inflation accelerated amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
U.S. households boosted their spending at a seasonally adjusted 0.2% pace in February from the month before, down from a revised 2.7% rate in January, when spending rebounded from an Omicron-related dip in December, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
Once again, my thoughts on what this all means is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.