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U.S. initial jobless claims fall in mid-January, December employment report likely to be strong

U.S. initial jobless claims dropped in mid-January. In the week ended 12 January, the jobless claims fell to 213k from 216k seen in the prior week. This left the four-week moving average nearly unchanged at 221k. The fall in claims is slightly surprising, given the ongoing partial government shutdown, which is now the longest in U.S. history.

Data indicated that initial filings by federal employees rose to 10.5k in the week ended 5 January, up from 4.8k in the prior week. The data are released with a week’s lag, which suggests that a further pickup is expected in filings by federal employees in weeks ahead, noted Barclays in a research report. However, jobless claims have stayed at low levels since last year, implying low rates of job separations and a solid labor market. Meanwhile, continuing claims for the week ended 5 January rose to 1.737 million from 1.719 million, and the insured jobless rate remained stable at 1.2 percent.

“At 213k, claims are at about the same level as in the December survey week (217k), which points to another strong employment report. While private sector hiring is expected to remain solid, we may see some weakness in public sector job gains owing to the shutdown”, added Barclays.

At 17:00 GMT the FxWirePro's Hourly Strength Index of US Dollar was neutral at 35.3861 more details on FxWirePro's Currency Strength Index, visit http://www.fxwirepro.com/currencyindex

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