The final piece of granular data concerning the labor market ahead of Friday’s key nonfarm payroll report shed little light on the underlying health of the employment situation.
Initial claims rose, even breaching the consensus range among economists, to reach 344,000 from a marginally revised 330,000 in the prior week. The number was the highest since the third week of February as continued snow at that time disrupted the economy. Watering down the latest number is the comment from the Labor Department, which noted that the timing of Easter and school vacations create difficulty in making seasonal adjustments. The typically more reliable four week moving average jumped by 3,000 to 320,000 claimants.
Investors are likely to ignore the latest initial claims data following the ADP report, which on Wednesday showed the spring rebound is likely showing up in the labor market with 220,000 private sector jobs added during April.
The consensus forecast among economists for the official government reading stands at 215,000 and up from a March reading of 192,000. After the report, U.S. 10-year yields remain at 2.65% while stock index futures are now lower on the session.
Initial claims and four-week moving average.