The Labor Department released its weekly jobless claims a day earlier than normal due to the Thanksgiving holiday being on Thursday. Last week was a very large surprise gain, but it appeared to be an anomaly due to hurricane damage and facilities throwing off the numbers so much in the week. That being said, our take is that this report was going to be an abnormal number as well, and we fear that next week may be an abnormal week again due to the Thanksgiving week.
Last week’s preliminary report was a gain of 78,000 to 439,000. That figure was revised to 451,000.
Today’s report on weekly jobless claims was down by 41,000 to 410,000 for the past week. Dow Jones was calling for 410,000 and Bloomberg was calling for a reading of 415,000. Note that these readings had been well under 400,000 for a very long time, and economists tend to shadow the prior week’s jobless claims trends. That being said, we would still warn that this report would have a large chance of being another anomaly. The Labor Department did indicate that the readings were still somewhat distorted due to the aftermath of the hurricane.
The four-week moving average was up by 9,500 to 396,250. Another reading is the army of unemployed, measured by the continuing jobless claims (with a one-week lag). This figure fell by 30,000 to 3.337 million.
DJIA futures were up by 7 points and S&P futures were down by less than 1 point right before the report came out.
JON C. OGG