The US labor market continues to improve at an accelerating rate. This week, rolling Non Seasonally Adjusted (NSA) initial claims were 10.6% below their level last year. This compares with the 10.1% year-over-year improvement posted in the prior week and 9.5% improvement in the two weeks prior to that.
There are a couple potential explanations for the amount of strength we're seeing in the data.
The first is Obamacare prompting the hiring of more part-time and temp workers -- on the margin. The second is the auto industry, which normally shuts down its production plants for two weeks around July 4th. Auto workers are entitled to file initial unemployment claims for these two weeks. This year, however, due to stronger new car demand and critical, new model rollouts from GM and Chrysler, many of these plants have remained open.
The bottom line here, however, is that the labor market continues to mend at an impressive rate.
Joshua Steiner, CFA
Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT