Jump in Jobless Claims Unlikely to Matter

Last week’s massive drop in weekly jobless did not seem to repeat itself. That being said, jobless claims remain stubbornly low and signal a continuation of a good employment market.

The U.S. Labor Department has reported that weekly jobless claims for the week of November 19 week rose by 18,000 to 251,000. The prior week’s cycle-low of 246,000 was also revised lower by 2,000 to 244,000.

One issue that acts as a smoothing agent is the 4-week moving average. This reading fell by 2,000 to 251,000. Also shown  was that the previous week’s average was revised down by 500 to 253,000.

As we have seen in just about every report over the last year, the Labor Department said that there were no special factors affecting this week’s claims report. Another milestone is that this marked the 90th consecutive week where initial claims came in below 300,000 — the longest streak since 1970.


The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.5% for the week ending November 12. Usually this figure is unchanged, but this represents an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate.

Also reported with a 1-week lag, the continuing jobless claims for the week ending November 12 was up 60,000 to 2,043,000 and the prior week’s report was revised higher by 6,000 to 1,983,000.

Some investors and economists may say the jump higher here is worth a note. It probably isn’t. Last week’s report was a cycle low and it would take two more straight jumps for someone to get much of a pulpit to stand on. After all, business owners and managers are just acting and sounding more positive again than they have in years.