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Jobless Claims Down to 202K, Tesla Down 9%

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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Just when everyone was sure peak employment was beginning to wane — 20K new jobs in February according to BLS, jobless claims bouncing out of the long-term historically low range — this morning we get an Initial Jobless Claims report ahead of the bell that sends us back down to near-half-century lows. Initial claims of 202K last week was well below the 216K analysts were expecting.

The new jobless claims data was also -10K week over week. Suddenly we’re right where we were late last summer: the lowest levels of new claims since the Beatles were still together. The 4-week moving average on new claims fell by 4000 to 213,500.

Continuing Claims dropped by 38K on the week, down to 1.72 million. This is not quite as low as the 1.6 million reads we were getting last year, but still consistent with an historically robust long-term labor market. The 4-week moving average tumbled 8000 to 1.74 million.

Between jobless claims data and yesterday’s private-sector payroll report from ADP (ADP - Free Report) , the pump is primed for tomorrow’s employment survey from the federal government. Currently, estimates are for roughly 170K new jobs to have hit the market in the month of March. Perhaps the months of 300K new jobs are a thing of the past, but that’s what we thought about weekly jobless claims threatening to break through 200K. We’ll know for sure tomorrow.

Tesla Disappoints on Q1 Deliveries

Shares of electric car leader Tesla (TSLA - Free Report) fell 9% in today’s pre-market on an announcement that Q1 deliveries came in well short of expectations. Tesla brought 63K vehicles in the quarter, well short of the 76K expected. The company cited a “massive backlog” in Europe and China regions. Deliveries were down 31% quarter over quarter.

Production of vehicles surpassed deliveries by 22%, according to the company. Tesla has not altered its full-year guidance for 360K-400K vehicle deliveries. In the more distant past, CEO Elon Musk had predicted half a million deliveries for 2019.

To make matters worse for Musk, he appears in Manhattan federal court today, where he is being accused of violating a fraud settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He will argue why he should not be held in contempt of court after tweeting out information about his company after the October 2018 settlement.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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