Jobless Claims Fell Last Week, Hinting at a Tight Labor Market

Jobless claims fell

On May 16, the Labor Department reported jobless claims for last week. Initial jobless claims fell by 16,000 to 212,000 for the week ended May 11. It came in below the forecast of 220,000 claims from economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal.

Jobless Claims Fell Last Week, Hinting at a Tight Labor Market

Jobless claims reflect the number of Americans filing for unemployment. They remain near historic lows, indicating that the US labor market still stands strong even though the effects of the Trump administration’s $1.5 trillion tax cut are fading.

The April jobs report released on May 3, showing impressive numbers for last month. The United States added 263,000 jobs in April, beating estimates. The unemployment rate fell to 3.6% in April, suggesting that the labor market is still strong. The tight labor market is fueling the economy, which is otherwise toppling with escalating US-China trade tensions.

The week that started May 13 saw a market sell-off when the trade talks between the United States and China got ugly. The S&P 500 Index (SPY) fell 2.4% while the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite Index (QQQ) closed with a loss of 3.4% on May 13. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed on May 13 with a loss of 2.3%.

Jobless Claims Fell Last Week, Hinting at a Tight Labor Market

The US stock market recovering as the week comes to a close

After a roller coaster of a week, the stock market has been recovering as the week ending May 17 came to a close. This recovery could have resulted from the recent news of the US delaying auto tariffs. A CNBC article reported that the United States is planning to lift tariffs steel and aluminum imports. Bloomberg news stated that the Trump administration announced it would delay auto tariffs by six months.

The S&P 500 Index (SPY) closed 0.89% higher while the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite Index (QQQ) closed with a gain of ~1.0% on May 16. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed on May 16 with an increase of 0.84%.