The Department of Labor reported a surprise increase in initial claims for unemployment benefits today. Jobless claims hit a nine-month high, but a DOL analyst told Reuters that unemployment data can be noisy at this time of year. Here’s Reuters’s graphic with all the pertinent details:
Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to fall to 334,000 last week.
The four-week moving average for new claims, which irons out week-to-week volatility, increased 13,250 to 343,500.
“This is not really good. Some of us had thought last week’s jump was an aberration. We have to see what’s going on here. Obviously the Fed won’t be looking at these numbers kindly after what happened yesterday,” said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.