Initial Jobless Claims Up 9.8% After Hitting Recovery Low

Initial jobless claims jumped 9.8% to a seasonally adjusted 360,000 for the week ending May 11, according to a Labor Department report released today.

Last week's unrevised initial jobless claims marked a record recovery low, but this newest report puts the labor market back in bear territory. Analysts had expected a slight rise in claims, but their 330,000 prediction underestimated the increase.

Source: Author, data from Labor Department. 

The four-week moving average also increased, up 0.4% after three straight weeks of declines. Despite the increases in claims, both the most recent week's number and the moving average clock in solidly below 400,000, a cutoff point that economists consider a sign of an improving labor market.

On a state-by-state basis, Connecticut was the only state to record a decrease of more than 1,000 in its initial jobless claims for the week ending May 4 (most recent available data). The state registered 1,430 fewer initial claims than the previous week, but supplied no explanation to the Labor Department for the shift. For the same week, only Georgia and New Mexico recorded increases of more than 1,000. Georgia's 2,210 bump was due primarily to manufacturing, accommodation, and food service layoffs, while New Mexico provided no reason for its 1,540 jump in initial claims.

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