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Jobless Claims Remain Low in October

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US initial jobless claims stood at 260,000 for week ended October 24

Employment figures are crucial for any economy. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, initial jobless claims stood at 260,000 for the week ended October 24. That’s an increase of 1,000 from the prior week’s level of 259,000. It was better than the consensus estimate of 265,000.

Initial jobless claims is one of the important coincident indicators. A valuable insight into the job market condition helps us understand the number of people depending on state funds. Although the number has remained lower, it doesn’t mean that new hiring is taking place in the economy. With global volatility, manufacturers seem to be more cautious about hiring new employees.

Over the past month, industrial stocks such as Fluor (FLR), Xylem (XYL), Flowserve (FLS), and Republic Services (RSG) have fallen 9.9%, 10.6%, 9.4%, and 6.7%, respectively, as of October 29.

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Continuing claims declined to 2,144 thousand as of October 16

Continuing claims that come out with a one-week time lag after initial claims are released dropped for the week ended October 16. They fell to 2,144 thousand compared to a revised level of 2,181 thousand in the previous week.

The initial jobless claim has remained below 300,000 since the beginning of March 2015. A reading below 300,000 indicates that there’s no substantial rise in claimants in the recent past. It means employment data are gathering strength.

However, a slowdown in China is negatively impacting manufacturers. A decline in private investments and the piling up of inventories reflect this. With no improvement in the weak economic environment, a business may be forced to halt production and lay off workers going forward.

With jobless claims staying lower, the Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLI) rose 8.9%, and the Direxion Daily S&P500 Bull 3X ETF (SPXL) rose 28.6% as of October 29 compared to a month ago.

Along with employment, consumer spending also boosts economic growth. In the next part of this series, let’s see how big-ticket spending like homebuying is trending.

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