There was no surprise in today's Initial Claims data, which continued the downward trend seen in recent months (despite the data seen in the most recent JOLTS survey which was hardly as optimistic on recent labor trends as the NFP number of the weekly claims data), with the headline number dropping to 323K, down from an upward revised 327K, and below the expected 335K print. On the surface, and at least to algos, this continues to be good news. The question remains whether the improving claim trend is due to fewer layoffs, or a lower marginal detachment workforce due to the labor force participation rate which was at 33 year lows for the second month in a low. At this point any additional substantial drops below the 300,000 range will likely mean a major distortion in the labor force as this is where claims numbers were at a time when the economy was actually strong, as opposed to the current liquified stock-market manipulated sham.
That said, with the whisper number expecting a 2-handle on the claims data, it will have to settle for the unadjusted number dropping below the 300,000 range, or 298,497 in the first week of March. People on continuing claims also declined from the upward revised print of 3.032MM, to just over 3MM or, 3,005K, and below expectations of 3,018K.
In total, 4,874,526 citizens claims benefits across all government programs in the week ended April 20, down 89,292 from the week before.
Also from the report, there was the traditional jab at US "Austerity" with the following remark: "There were 18,726 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending April 20, an increase of 531 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 36,718, a decrease of 435 from the prior week." The implications are clear.