The U.S. Department of Labor has released the most recent report on weekly jobless claims. For the week ended on January 31, initial claims came in 9,000 above the previously revised reading to 278,000, and they compared to the Bloomberg consensus estimate of 290,000. The previous reading was revised up by 2,000 to 267,000 claims.
The four-week moving average was recorded at approximately 292,750, which was a decrease of only 6,500 from the previous reading of 299,250 claims. The number of claims fell below the 300,000 level in late July and only rose above it again in January. This was, for a while, the longest that the four-week moving average had remained below the 300,000 level since 2000.
The most recent initial claims reading appears to be smoothing out some of the short-term volatility that affected the job market following the end of the fourth quarter.
According to the Labor Department, no special factors had an impact on this past week’s reported initial jobless claims.
Continuing claims, which are reported with a one-week lag, increased by 6,000 to 2.4 million for the week that ended January 24.