Initial jobless claims are favorable but increasingly less so perhaps, at 232,000 in the April 14 week. This is 5,000 higher than the mid-March reading which offers a sample-week to sample-week comparison for the monthly employment report. A comparison of the 4-week averages is similar, currently at 231,250 which is up more than 6,000.
Continuing claims have not been showing the same movement higher, falling 15,000 in lagging data for the April 7 week to 1.863 million. The unemployment rate for insured workers remains at a very low 1.3 percent.
But it's not how low unemployment claims are that matters in forecasting the April employment report, it's the direction of claims and initial claims are no longer showing improvement. This uptick, following as it does the sharp downtick in payroll growth in March, will hold down expectations for April payrolls and also April's unemployment rate. There are no special factors in today's report.