The weekly jobless claims data from the Labor Department showed a continued trend of improvement this morning. The new jobless claims fell by 12,000 to 367,000 in the week ended January 28. The reading from the week before edged up to 379,000 from 377,000. Dow Jones had estimates of 370,000 for the week.
To smooth out the weekly data, the four-week average fell by 2,000 to 375,750. The broader measurement of the army of unemployed is measured by the continuing claims (with a one-week lag) and that figure fell by 130,000 to 3,437,000 for the week ended January 21.
With an FOMC outlook of 8.2% to 8.5% in unemployment rates in 2012 and with economists mostly expecting 8.5% unemployment on Friday, today’s data shows no reason to expect much difference in the projected data on Friday in unemployment and in non-farm payrolls.
JON C. OGG