Initial jobless claims jumped a massive 22.7% to 368,000 for the week ending Dec. 7, according to a Labor Department report released today. Pundits caution people to be aware that there is seasonal adjustment volatility around the holidays.
After dropping off 6.5% the previous week to a revised 300,000, this newest report pushed far above analysts' predictions of 325,000 claims. Pundits say there is seasonal adjustment volatility around the holidays.
But according to The Wall Street Journal, holiday season jobless claims are often erratic, and both this week's high number and last week's low number aren't actually of much use to analysts.
Applications had tumbled in recent weeks to nearly six-year lows, partly because of a late Thanksgiving holiday that may have distorted the government's seasonal adjustments. Economists believe this week's jump in claims was a dose of payback.
From a more long-term perspective, a 1.9% increase in the four-week moving average to 328,750 initial claims marks the first uptick since October. Both the latest week's claims and the four-week average fall significantly below 400,000, a cutoff point that economists consider a sign of an improving labor market.
On a state-by-state basis, 14 states recorded a decrease of more than 1,000 initial claims for the week ending Nov. 30 (most recent available data and the week that contained the Thanksgiving holiday). California's claims dropped the most (-19,920) due primarily to fewer services sector layoffs, while Texas came in second with a 7,280 decrease.
For the same period, five states registered increases of more than 1,000 initial claims. Wisconsin did not provide a comment for its 4,420 increase, while Ohio cited manufacturing and finance layoffs for its 2,600 initial-claims bump.
-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.