Big Gain in Key Jobless Claims Data Despite Extended Benefits Expiration


The U.S. Labor Department reported a surge in weekly jobless claims during the past week. Bloomberg had been calling for almost no change at 327,000, but the rate rose by 19,000 to 348,000. Last week's figure was revised higher to 329,000 from the preliminary 326,000 reported.

Where this report gets interesting is back to the extended benefits. It shows that the no state triggered extended benefits:

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending January 11 was 3,583,501, a decrease of 122,586 from the previous week. There were 5,916,993 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2013. ... No state was triggered "on" the Extended Benefits program during the week ending January 11.

Does it seem odd that jobless claims were up this much sequentially when the total number of people claiming benefits dropped by more than 122,000?

24/7 Wall St, would remind readers that it is likely — or almost certain — that the FOMC knew the general direction of this report when it released its additional bond-purchase tapering expectations on Wednesday. Again, that tapering vote was unanimous. The analyst at the Labor Department also said there were no special issues accounting for the change, although a shortened week and persistent weather can always account for some of the noise.

Continuing jobless claims, what we call the army of the unemployed, remain close to 3 million at 2.991 million. That number was down 16,000 from last week's report, although it comes with a one-week lag.

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending January 18 were in California (+11,708), Oregon (+1,239), Rhode Island (+304) and the Virgin Islands (+7), while the largest decreases were in Pennsylvania (-16,595), Indiana (-10,740), Texas (-8,789), Georgia (-8,119) and Massachusetts (-5,863).

Filed under: Jobs

Originally published