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Weekly Jobless Claims Remain Low

The U.S. Department of Labor released its reading on weekly jobless claims on Thursday, which showed a drop of 6,000 claims. The report of 275,000 was in line with the Bloomberg consensus estimate of 275,000, and the prior week’s initial report of 282,000 weekly claims was revised down 1,000 to 281,000.

Some investors will wonder if the Labor Day weekend played any role here. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said that there are no special factors in this report.

The four-week average ticked higher to 275,750. That may sound like it went the wrong direction, but this is still quite a low reading, with a gain of just 500 in the report.

Continuing claims, which the BLS reports with a one-week lag, were up by 1,000 to a level of 2.260 million in the week of August 29. Also reported was that the unemployment rate for insured workers was left unchanged at 1.7%.

Investors rely on the seasonal adjustments in order to smooth out traditional auto, factory, school and other jobs. Still, sometimes the seasonally adjusted readings can show trends from a prior year. On this, the Labor Department said:

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 231,972 in the week ending September 5, an increase of 1,893 (or 0.8 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 7,594 (or 3.3 percent) from the previous week. There were 234,755 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

Last week’s unemployment and payrolls reading has some overlap with the weekly claims report here. That being said, this report is likely to get only a quick-glance view by any Fed presidents contemplating on whether to vote for a rate hike in the coming week.

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By Jon C. Ogg