The number of new jobless claims reported weekly to the U.S. Department of Labor is considered a leading forward indicator for jobs growth in the US labor market and is thereby linked to expectations for economic growth and potential moves by the US Federal Reserve to increase interest rates. According to the most recent data:

  • For the week ended June 29, the number of initial jobless claims - e.g. new jobless claims - decreased by 8,000 to 221,000. However, 4-weeks moving average, which smoothes fluctuations, indicates a small increase in jobless claims.
  • The total number of persons receiving unemployment benefits - e.g. "continued claims" or "insured unemployment" - also decreased by 8,000 to 1,686,000.

Despite the number of people filing applications for unemployment benefits decreased slightly last week, the numbers continue to rise since late 2018. So, if in 2016-2018 years, jobless claims decreased on average by around 500 persons each week, in 2019, they started to increase by around 250 persons weekly.

This trend may indicate that the period of historically low unemployment comes to an end and economic growth shifts into a lower gear. This may result in the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates in its July meeting.

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