The Labor Department reported Thursday that weekly Initial Jobless Claims in the week ending May 31, was 357K, a decrease of 18K from the previous week’s revised figure of 375K.
The four-week moving average of new claims, which economists use to gauge underlying job trends and consider it to be a rather accurate measure of employment trends – since it evens out weekly volatility, dipped to 368,500, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 371,250.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate came in at 2.3 percent for the week ending May 24, unchanged from the prior week’s unrevised rate of 2.3 percent.
Even with the unexpected decline, claims remain at levels that indicate a labor market still under stress as result of a sluggish economy and even though the four-week average posted a slight decrease to 371,250, remains up significantly from a year ago when the four-week average was around the 300,000 mark.
The number for seasonally insured unemployment during the week ending May 24 was 3,093,000, a decrease of 16K from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,109,000. Despite the decline, the number of continued claims remained above 3 million for the sixth straight week. The 4-week moving average was 3,085,750, an increase of 15,250 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,070,500.
The fiscal year-to-date average for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment for all programs is 2.883 million.
This week’s string of employment indicators will culminate in the government’s May payrolls report on Friday.
Based on these latest figures, the labor market is showing signs of stabilization. The downward trend that has persisted over the last couple of months looks hopeful.