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By G C Mays

The Department of Labor reported that in the week ending January 8, the advance figure for weekly jobless claims was 445,000, an increase of 35,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised figure of 410,000. The 4-week moving average stands at 416,750, an increase of 5,500 from the previous week's revised average of 411,000.

The advance figure for continuing claims for the week ending January 1 was 3,879,000, a decrease of 248,000 from the previous week's revised level of 4,127,000, the 4-week moving average was 4,056,500, a decrease of 72,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 4,128,500.

There were 2 states with a decrease in claims of more than 1,000 compared to 6 states in the previous week. There were 14 states with an increase of more than 1,000 claims compared to 17 states in the previous week.

click to enlarge images

Initial Jobless Claims

Source: Dept. of Labor / The Mays Report

There is a lot being made of the large jump in the number of unadjusted claims. This peak in the number of unadjusted claims is normal and occurs annually. The overall trend in initial claims is trending down.

Initial jobless claims not seasonally adjusted vs. seasonally adjusted

Source: Dept. of Labor / The Mays Report

There is really too much seasonal noise at this time of year to infer any sort of meaningful short-term direction in terms of employment prospects. However, what we do know is that the most recent decade clearly shows is that a smaller percentage of the working age population will be gainfully employed in America as we move into the future.

Source: Initial Jobless Claims Jump but Data Is Still Noisy