Weekly Jobless Claims Get Good Holiday Surprise


The Labor Department has released its weekly jobless claims, and the good news is that we saw another drop. The bad news is that this time of year is often considered a wash because there are so many temporary full-time and part-time positions in the mix around the holidays.

Weekly claims fell by 12,000 to 350,000, and the prior week was revised only slightly higher to 362,000 from a preliminary report of 361,000. Bloomberg was calling for a reading of 365,000 for this last week. Here are two other measures we follow as well:

  • The four week-average fell by 11,250 to 356,750.

  • The army of unemployed measured by the continuing jobless claims fell by 32,000 to 3,206,000 (with a one-week lag).

It is good news that the readings are down to 350,000. Still, we would caution investors and market participants that the weekly jobless claims, and even next week's unemployment report, may be smoothed over as noise due to the holiday transitions. It is not that numbers do not matter at all. It is just that they will be smoothed out with more accurate data in the coming weeks as we have a resolution (or not) to the fiscal cliff.


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