Initial jobless claims rose 11,000 in the May 19 week to a higher-than-expected but still very low 234,000, lifting the 4-week average by more than 6,000 to 219,750. Despite the week's rise, claims are still sizably below levels in April which points to strength for next week's employment report.
Continuing claims, where data lag by a week, rose 29,000 though the 4-week average, at 1.752 million, is down 23,000 to 1.752 million which is a 45-year low. The unemployment rate for insured workers is unchanged at only 1.2 percent.
Low levels for jobless claims are consistent with strong demand for labor. There are no special factors in today's report.
Initial claims are expected to come in at 220,000 in the May 19 week in what would be a small increase from 222,000 in the prior week. The 4-week average in the prior week, at 213,250, marked a 49-year low. Low readings in this report are consistent with strong demand for labor.