Latest US weekly unemployment claims reports suggest weakening job growth

In the week just ended, the US Department of Labor is reporting the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims as 386,000. While this is a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 388,000 it is well above the 4-week moving average, which has now moved up to 374,750. Moreover, claims are higher now than they were a year ago. This is a change from most data over the past few years and is a trend that bears watching closely.

Many economic pundits have been suggesting that the warm late winter months skewed the jobs reports to the upside and that we are now in the process of paying back that upward skew. Time will tell whether that is the correct interpretation. But clearly, these last two weeks' data are weak.

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