NEW YORK (Reuters) - New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits were little changed last week, a government report showed on Thursday, pointing to a marginal improvement in the labor market.
ROGER ALIAGA-DIAZ, SENIOR ECONOMIST, VANGUARD, VALLEY FORGE, PENNSYLVANIA
“As long as we see the four-week average above 400,000, it’s hard to see improvement in the labor market. It’s lower than previous levels but it’s still very high.
“The Fed is going to be hold next week and will continue to reinvest proceeds from maturing securities. Maybe we will see what they are thinking about the next round of quantitative easing. There are not that many options left.”
VIMOMBI NSHOM, ECONOMIST, IFR ECONOMICS, A UNIT OF THOMSON REUTERS
“Claims came in better than market expectations, who perhaps thought budget constraints forcing temporary ‘stop-work’ orders from the FAA would elevate the level. Official comments connecting the FAA furlough to the weekly movement did not accompany the report, but further analysis into the data— which will be available next week — could reveal a relationship.”
“It’s a very disappointing report. Not only do we see the jobless claims remain at or above 400,000 but last week’s was revised away. That revision continues to extend the weakness for yet another week. So we see that the last time we were below was at the start of April. So this is four consecutive months of strong job destruction on top of weak job creation.
“There is a lot of uncertainty about tomorrow’s jobs report but there was also a lot of optimism. It was labor market recovery fatigue optimism, if you will. We were looking for 100,000 and that would have been double what we had seen in the past few months.
“It really does seem like we have hit a soft patch that will extend into the third quarter. “
HUGH JOHNSON, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER OF HUGH JOHNSON ADVISORS LLC IN ALBANY, NEW YORK
“I don’t think much of it. The claims numbers jump around a lot from week to week and the story is more in the 4-week moving average or if you step back and look at what has been happening since May. Essentially claims have stalled and the growth of employment has stalled which is very consistent with what we know to be the case for the economy. In other words very consistent with every other numbers including GDP for the second quarter, the ISM reports. So everything, the claims numbers included, say the same thing — the economy has stopped.”
SCOTT BROWN, CHIEF ECONOMIST, RAYMOND JAMES, ST. PETERSBURG, FL
“I don’t think there’s anything magical about 400,000... The four-week average is suggesting lackluster to modest job growth. We’d love to see them moving below 350,000. You’re starting to hear more announcements of layoffs, but they’re still relatively concentrated in a handful of large companies. The real problem is the lack of new hiring, which is absolutely critical. We’ve seen some improvement with smaller firms hiring more people again.”
MARIS OGG, PRESIDENT OF TOWER BRIDGE ADVISORS IN WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, PENNSYLVANIA
“The size of the beat is pretty meaningless, but it still continued the downward trend. But I don’t think it will mean much. Tomorrow will be much more important and it’s possible we could get a decent number.
“This is less a positive than not a negative. People have gotten so pessimistic that they expect negatives. When they don’t get that, it’s a slight plus.”
“A pretty disappointing report. If we look at last week that was the first time we dipped below 400,000 in 15 weeks, and that was revised away. Still not any good place in terms of expectations for further improvement in the labor market. This sets a bad tone for tomorrow’s payrolls report.
“The first time that we’ve been below 400,000 is in the beginning of April so we’ve had four months of very weak job additions and ample job destruction.”