2 Latest GDP Data & Unemployment Claims Become Focus! This is what traders need to know


First-time applications for unemployment benefits in the US fell last week, indirectly easing fears of a sharp shift in the labor market.

Initial claims for jobless benefits fell by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 233,000 for the week ended June 22, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. Claims data includes Juneteenth Day, a new holiday. Unemployment claims tend to be volatile around public holidays.

Those claims have risen above the 194,000-243,000 range this year.

Economists are divided on whether the latest increase in claims indicates increased layoffs or a repeat of the uncertainty experienced at the same time last year.

Claims remain at historic lows and are being closely watched for signs of whether employers are laying off more people as the economy slows in response to a 525 basis point interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve starting in 2022 to control inflation.

The government confirmed in a separate report on Thursday that economic growth moderated significantly in the first quarter.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose at a slightly revised annual rate of 1.4% in the last quarter, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis reported in its third GDP estimate for the January-March quarter.

Growth was previously estimated at 1.3%. The economy grew at a rate of 3.4% in the fourth quarter.

The US central bank has kept the benchmark overnight interest rate in the current range of 5.25%-5.50% since last July.

The number of people receiving benefits after the first week of aid, an indicator of hiring, rose by 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 1.839 million in the week ended June 15, based on the claims report. Continuous claims data covers the period in which the government surveys households for the June unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.0% in May for the first time since January 2022. However, most economists do not see the current rate as a threat to the labor market, arguing that the increase is concentrated among the 35-44 age group, new immigrants- this new, and specific industry.