The outlook for the August employment report is off to a bad start in what can't be good for today's stock market. Initial jobless claims for the August 7 week came in at 484,000, far above expectations for 460,000 and the highest level since February. The four-week average, up a steep 14,250 to 473,500, is also the highest since February. There are no unusual factors affecting the results.
In a partial offset, continuing claims fell 118,000 in data for the July 31 week. The four-week average fell 64,000 to 4.519 million. The unemployment rate for insured workers came down one tenth to 3.5 percent. These numbers do look good but do reflect, to a degree, the expiration of benefits as the unemployed simply fall out of the insured labor pool.
Here is the accompanying chart:
This report is terrible. Looking at the chart, initial claims are moving sideways and are now at the high end of their range.