The 5k initial claims drop to a third consecutive 49-year low
The 5k initial claims drop to a third consecutive 49-year low of 192k extended the 5k drop to 197k (was 196k) from 204k, as claims plunges further below the previous cycle-low of 208k last September. It's hard to attribute this massive three-week claims plunge to a seasonal distortion from this year's late Easter, but this may have at least exacerbated what was otherwise still a tightening trend after the temporary winter claims rise as the labor market remains tight. The 192k claims reading in the April BLS survey week was the lowest since a 182k figure in September of 1969. Claims are averaging just 194k thus far in April, versus 214k in March, 222k in February, and 224k in January. Analysts saw a cycle-low monthly average of 212k in September that will be undershot in April. Today's 192k April BLS survey week reading undershot the 216k March figure, versus prior BLS survey week readings of 213k in February and 217k in January. Continuing claims are also posted an out-sized 3-week drop, with a 63k decline to 1,653k in the first week of April, as the gauge drops back to a level just above the 1,649k cycle-low at the end of October. Analysts expect an April nonfarm payroll rise of 190k, with mounting risks to the upside.