Announced this morning, Initial Jobless Claims were 230,000 for the week ending August 19th, less than expected and a slight decline from the previous week. Continuing Claims were 1,702,000 for the week ending August 12th, slightly less than expected and also lower than the previous week. Meanwhile, Durable Goods Orders fell -5.2% in July, more negative than expected driven primarily by a drop in aircraft deliveries. However, that follows an increase of 4.6% the previous month. Durable Goods Orders Ex-Transportation grew 0.5% in July which was higher than expected.
Overall, initial claims and continuing were both less than expected, highlighting the resiliency of the labor market and initial claims are still well below 300,000, a level that is historically normal for a healthy economy. Meanwhile, consumers continue to spend as evidenced by retail sales figures last week and initial readings on economic growth in this quarter appear strong, which is also highlighted by the ex-transportation figure for durable goods coming higher than expected. Inflation measures remain above Federal Reserve targets, likely leading to rates staying higher for longer to ensure inflation moves lower and closer to their goal, which chair Powell may highlight in tomorrow’s speech in Jackson Hole. The impact of that monetary policy on the speed and magnitude of the movements in the unemployment rate and inflation will be key for the economy in the coming months.
In all, the yield on the 10-year US treasury ticks slightly higher following the report, and equity futures are mixed as we head into the market open.
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