Initial Claims Lower Than Expected At 332K, PPI In Line With Expectations

The grind lower in initial jobless claims continues, which from an upwardly revised 342k (was 340K) last week, declined to 332K in the most recent week ended March 9, on expectations of an increase to 350K. This was the third consecutive beat in a row and the lowest total print since January, which in turn takes it all the way back to January 2008. Continuing claims were also better than expected, dropping from an upwardly-revised 3113K, to 3024K, on expectations of a 3090K print. According to the BLS, unlike the last time we had an abnormally low print, no states were estimated this time around.

From the report:

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending February 23 were in Alaska (6.2), Puerto Rico (4.7), Rhode Island (4.5), Connecticut (4.2), New Jersey (4.2), Montana (4.1), Pennsylvania (4.1), Massachusetts (4.0), Wisconsin (3.9), California (3.7), Illinois (3.7), and Oregon (3.7).


The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending March 2 were in California (+11,720), New York (+7,900), Missouri (+2,722), Kansas (+1,419), and Washington (+813), while the largest decreases were in Massachusetts (-4,193), North Carolina (-1,146), Connecticut (-913), Michigan (-909), and Florida (-726).

But perhaps the most curious finding in the report, is the ongoing V-Fib formation that extended and emergency claims are underoing, which now fluctuate by about 150K on a week in, week out basis, without any rhyme or reason.

Finally, as was widely expected by anyone familiar with the BLS' ways, the February PPI came right on top of expectations, rising 0.7% up from 0.2%. PPI ex food and energy was +0.2% from January, slightly higher than the 0.1% expected, and up 1.7% from a year ago.

A Seasonally adjusted Goldilocks economy all around, one which sadly has yet to manifest itself in any improvement in the 11%+ implied unemployment rate were one to use an accurate labor force participation rate, and not one reflecting a record number of people exiting the work force.


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