Jobless Claims Remain Stubbornly High

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced this morning that, for the week ending August 22nd, just over 1M Americans filed for first-time jobless benefits. That figure just about matched expectations and was slightly lower than the prior week’s 1.1M. Continuing Claims for the week ending August 15th totaled 14.54M and that was a disappointment for those expecting 14.4M. The previously announced total of 14.84M for the prior week was revised to 14.76M.

The results of the second estimate of Q2 GDP were also reported today and the previously reported fall of 32.9% was reduced slightly to 31.7% and that was better than analysts had predicted. That, however, does not really help much. The 34.6% decline in Personal Consumption for Q2 was also downwardly revised to a 34.1% contraction. On the inflation front as measured by the core Personal Expenditures Index, Q2’s 1.1% decline was revised to 1% while the 1.8% fall in the GDP Price Index was revised to a 2% drop.

Markets seem little affected by this morning’s revisions as all eyes and ears will be tuned to the Kansas City Fed’s Jackson Hole Economic Symposium that this year will take place virtually. Virtually everyone will be awaiting Jerome Powell’s speech today and listening for hints about what changes to monetary policy management may be coming our way, particularly the widely held perception that changes in how the Fed manages inflation are on the way.

In early trading, the Ten-Year’s yield has dipped to around 67 basis points as a slight rise in Treasury prices helps regain some lost ground from yesterday’s sell-off. Crude oil is little changed at just over $43 while gold has slipped about $17 to $1,937.