Last week's biggest bond rally occurred on Thursday, immediately following the release of the highest Jobless Claims number since late 2021. Exactly 1 week later and we're looking at the exact same number in this morning's data. It has been enough to completely counteract the generally stronger message from the other economic reports as well as a hawkish lean in the ECB announcement earlier this morning.
While we're on the topic of Jobless Claims, let's take a moment to use the DOL's release charts as an example of what many press releases need to change. Here is the headline chart as published:
While one could argue that a Y axis that goes all the way to zero helps frame the scale of the data, I would argue that all that blank space down low really detracts from the potency of the message in any chart. Let's stretch the y-axis a bit so as to better visualize the recent breakout.
Notably, if we factor out the rise and fall in claims associated with covid lockdowns, this week's number is the highest since late 2017. The fact that is has happened 2 weeks in a row is enough to get markets thinking about a potential shift in the labor market. The notion of such a shift would really pick up steam if next week's number follows suit, considering that's the data that would have been collected at the same time as June's NFP (to be reported on July 7th).
Even then, today's data has been plenty to counteract a slew of bad actors (stronger retail sales, modest beat in Philly Fed, much stronger NY Fed Manufacturing, and