The Labor Department is back to reporting volatile data on the weekly jobless claims. We saw in recent weeks a big drop and then a big gain. Now we have a drop of 35,000, down to 353,000, for the previous week. The prior week was revised from 386,000 up to 388,000. Bloomberg had a consensus target from economists of 380,000. That was also the consensus from Dow Jones.
Another measurement is the four-week average, and that fell by 8,750 to 367,250 in the last week. The continuing claims, the army of unemployed which is reported with a one-week lag, fell by 30,000 to 3.29 million.
Today’s news probably will be considered some fresh air for the market, but it has a flip side to it: better jobs will limit the urgency of new quantitative easing measures from Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve. With unemployment at 8.2%, and with more than 3 millions job openings, the employment situation still needs some help.
JON C. OGG