Jobless claims up to 242,000, expectations are still for 4.0% unemployment

The US Department of Labor released poor data for jobless claims this week. The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance jumped to 242,000. And that pulls up the widely-watched 4-week average to 228,500. This may just be seasonality at work since the year ago figure was 250,000.

You can see the trend line is down over the last year.

Jobless Claims for the week ended 2018-03-31

Source: US Department of Labor

This is the last piece of data to come out before tomorrow’s jobs report. Right now, consensus estimates call for nonfarm payrolls to increase at a 193,000 clip. Analysts expect the unemployment rate to edge down to 4.0% from 4.1%.

A good jobs report will increase the likelihood that the Federal Reserve moves to guidance of four rate increases for 2018. Right now, official guidance is for three. But more than 30% of the Fed Funds futures market sees a fourth rate hike in 2018.

Fed funds futures 2018-03-19

Source: CME Group

Source: Unemployment Insurance Wekly Claims – Department of Labor

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