Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Jump 31,000 to 473,000

The U.S. economy suffered a setback on the employment front for the week ending Feb. 13, as jobless claims gave back much of the previous week's large improvement, the U.S. Labor Department announced Thursday. A Bloomberg News economists survey had expected jobless claims to total 440,000.

However, the more-telling four-week moving average dipped 1,500 to 467,500, while continuing claims were unchanged at 4.563 million.A year ago, initial jobless claims totaled 631,000, continuing claims were 4.948 million, and the four-week moving average was 615,500.

Economists view the four-week average as a better indicator of unemployment conditions because it smooths out anomalies for strikes, holidays or other idiosyncratic events. And they monitor the continuing claims stat because it provides a snapshot of how long it's going to take the typical person to find comparable employment after losing a job. In general, continuing claims above 3 million reflect a slack labor market, and point to extended , six- to nine-month or longer, job searches.

The roller-coaster from the previous week to this week is a case study of why economists emphasize the four-week moving average: Initial jobless claims can vary considerably based on one-time events, and revisions can be substantial. Hence, investors should concentrate on the more-indicative four-week average. As long as that metric continues to trend lower, it's more likely that the labor markets are healing.
Read Full Story

Want more news like this?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from business news to personal finance tips delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.