Jobless claims fall more than expected

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The number of seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims fell 8,000 to 209,000 in the week ended Aug. 3, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.

Economists surveyed by IFR Markets had predicted a level of 215,000.

The previous week's level was revised to 217,000 from 215,000.

The four-week moving average was 212,250, up 250 from the previous week's revised average of 212,000 originally reported at 211,500.

Federal Reserve watchers look to the weekly employment numbers as one indicator as to what the Federal Open Market Committee may decide on interest rates.
“Expectation of a September rate cut from the Fed is now fully priced in the U.S. sovereign bond markets,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, Senior Market Analyst at London Capital Group. “FOMC members voice divergent opinions after the quick escalation of tensions with China. While St. Louis Fed President Bullard kept his view that one more rate cut would be enough for this year, Chicago Fed President Evans said that the latest developments may require more policy easing in the coming months. Fed policymakers know that they don’t need to signal a rate cut twice.”

Labor reported the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2% for the week ending July 27, unchanged from the previous week's rate.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 27 was 1.684 million, down 15,000 from the previous week's level of 1.699 million.

The four-week moving average was 1.687 million, down 11,000 from the previous week's average of 1.698 million.

Wholesale inventories unchanged
Total inventories of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were $678.7 billion at the end of June, virtually unchanged from the revised May level, the Commerce Department reported on Thursday.

Total inventories were up 7.6% from the revised June 2018 level. The May 2019 to June 2019 percent change was revised from the advance estimate of up 0.2% to virtually unchanged, Commerce said.

June sales of merchant wholesalers were $498.5 billion, down 0.3% from the revised May level and were down 0.2% from the June 2018 level. The April 2019 to May 2019 percent change was revised from the preliminary estimate of up 0.1% to down 0.6%, Commerce said.

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