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JOBLESS CLAIMS CONTINUE TO DECLINE…

There’s no denying the fact that the U.S. economy is much stronger than most presumed in Q3 and Q4 of last year when recession calls were popular. ¬†One of the more glaring signs of improvement has been the jobless claims data which has improved dramatically since early last year (see chart below).

Econoday has some details on today’s data:

“The weeks are normal and there’s nothing special skewing the data — data that increasingly point to pivotal improvement underway in the nation’s jobs market. Initial claims fell 13,000 in the February 11 week to 348,000 (prior week revised to 361,000). And for the 10th time in 11 weeks, the 4-week average is down, falling 1,750 to 365,250 (prior revised to 367,000). A month-to-month comparison shows an improvement of not quite 10,000 which points to rising gains for monthly payroll growth.

Continuing claims are also lower, down a very sizable 100,000 in data for the February 4 week to 3.426 million. The 4-week average is down 8,000 to 3.493 million. The unemployment rate for insured employees is down 1 tenth to 2.7 percent.

Europe may or may not be sliding into recession but there’s no evidence of it in the US jobs market which appears to be recovering at an accelerating rate. Today’s report is certain to be a plus for the stock market. Also look for economists, based on today’s data, to begin issuing preliminary forecasts for February payroll growth.”

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