US: Jobless claims weak but improving

U.S. jobless claims for the past week were down to 425,000 from 435,000 last week and as high as 457,000 three weeks ago. While seasonality is big part of the data in August, this is a comforting change from the recent pattern.

Nevertheless, comparisons to August last year remain worryingly high; Claims are sill running at 115k over last year’s figures. Meanwhile continuing claim rolls, averaging over 3.3 million the past 4 weeks, are over 800,000 above this time last August.

After Labor Day, we should look to see if these year-on-year comparisons improve to know whether we are out of the woods yet.

Below are graphs of the last two years of jobless claims and of the year-on-year comparisons for continuing claims.

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