Initial jobless claims fell in the May 22 week but not by much. Claims were down 14,000 to a higher-than-expected level of 460,000. In a partial offset, the prior week was revised 3,000 higher to 474,000. Improvement in the latest week fails to offset prior increases, reflected in the four-week average which rose for a second week, up 2,250 to 456,500. The month-to-month look is mixed with the four-week average showing marginal improvement while the latest week shows a marginal increase.
Here's a chart of the data:
Note that since the beginning of the year, this number has been moving sideways between ~450,000 and ~490,000. As I noted at the beginning of the week, we've got to see this number start to move below 450,000. Today's drop is obviously good news, but the number is still at extremely uncomfortable levels for where we are in the economic cycle.
From the BEA:
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 3.0 percent in the first quarter of 2010, (that is, from the fourth quarter to the first quarter), according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP had increased 5.6 percent.
The GDP estimates released today are based on more complete source data than were available for the "advance" estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 3.2 percent (see "Revisions" on page 3).
The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from state and local government spending and residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.
The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected decelerations in private inventory investment and in exports, a downturn in residential fixed investment, a larger decrease in state and local government spending, and a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by an acceleration in PCE and a deceleration in imports.
3% is still a good number and indicates the economy is expanding. Also note the data is broad based -- PCEs, inventory investment (which is real economic grown) and non-residential investment.