Weekly Jobless Claims Heat Back Up, Unemployment Next?

The U.S. Labor Department has released its weekly jobless claims report. After last week’s surprise drop of a whopping 42,000 before revisions, the jobless claims came in at 352,000 for the past week. Last week’s report was revised to 348,000 from the prior report of 346,000.

Bloomberg was calling for 347,000 and Dow Jones was calling for 350,000. A range from economists polled by Bloomberg was more skewed toward this being a positive number as the range was 330,000 to 350,000 and that means that today’s weekly jobless claims was effectively worse than all economists were calling for. At issue is whether it is enough to matter for unemployment or for nonfarm and private sector payrolls.

There were no expected or anticipated aberrations in the report ahead of time, although California was shown to be an estimated number, and that could lead to revision changes next week as the state is so large.

One area we track is the continuing jobless claims, even if this comes with a one-week lag. It measures what we consider the army of the unemployed, and the figure was reported as lower by 35,000, down to 3.068 million.

As we are in the middle of the month, it is too soon to begin making any predictions about how this week’s report and last week’s surprising report will influence the unemployment rate and payrolls data due in two weeks.

S&P 500 futures are up 5.50 and DJIA futures are up almost 40 points. Today’s jobless claims were a tad higher than expected, but even if it was above the range it is still not by enough of a margin that we would look for any big market sentiment changes.

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