Weekly Jobless Claims Head Lower as Continuing Claims Tick Back Up

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U.S. jobless claims fell yet again in the week ending November 25. This is a continued signal of a very robust labor market, but the financial markets are likely going to ignore these numbers for the time being until they start climbing again.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims last week was 238,000. This was down 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 240,000, and the prior week’s adjustment was up by 1,000 to 240,000.

The number was also more or less in line with expectations. Dow Jones had a consensus estimate of 240,000 for last week.

The four-week moving average rose by 2,250 to 242,250, and the previous week’s average was revised up by 250 to 240,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4% during the week ending November 18, and the continuing jobless claims (those taking claims more than two weeks) was up 42,000 at 1,957,000. The previous week’s level of continuing jobless claims was revised up 11,000 to 1,915,000, and the four-week moving average was up 18,250 to 1,911,000.

Also included in Thursday’s report was the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending November 11. This has a lag, but it was up 108,176 to 1,761,201. While this is a big gain, the Labor Department showed that there was a much higher figure of 1,903,834 people claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2016.

There were not many special notations in the weekly claims, but the Labor Department did indicate that jobless claims continue to be disrupted in the Virgin Islands.

Without getting into detail, it is a bit disheartening to see the continuing jobless claims rising. That number should continue to contract with unemployment so low. That being said, this is still quite close to multiyear lows.