Nothing in the weekly report on initial claims for unemployment to set the heart a twitter. But the numbers look good enough to keep the Federal Reserve on track for a 25 basis point interest rate increase at its June 14 meeting.
Initial claims for the week ended May 27 increased by 13,000 to 248,000. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg were looking for 239,000. This report kept initial claims below 300,000 for a 117th consecutive week. The four-week moving average rose by 2,500 to 238,000.
This report shows the job market staying strong enough for the Fed to raise interest rates on June 14. That’s certainly what the financial markets believe. According to the CME Fed Watch tool the odds of a rate increase on June 14 are now 95.8%. That’s up from 87.7% on May 25 and 67.6% on May 1.
The market continues to believe, however, that a June rate increase stands a very good chance of being the last increase for 2017. The Fed Funds Futures market is pricing in only a 27.2% chance of an additional 25 basis point increase at the central bank’s September 20 meeting. Odds of an additional rate increase climb only to 40.4% for the bank’s December 13 meeting.