So much for last week’s “good news” on the jobless front. This week initial jobless claims have risen to a dismal and yet again “unexpected” 362,000. As expected, the blizzard from a few weeks ago is taking some of the blame.
Initial jobless claims increased 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week’s claims figure was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to rise to 355,000. The increase in claims last week pushed them toward the upper end of their range for this year. A blizzard that hit the East Coast late in the first week of February could have exaggerated the drop in claims for the week ended Feb. 9. A Labor Department analyst said claims for California and Virginia had been estimated, as well as figures for Hawaii and the District of Columbia.
Think how bad it would be if those states weren’t estimated. I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.
And like last week, the Labor Department once again engaged in a huge guessing game, this time forecasting the claims for California, Virginia, Hawaii and DC, meaning next week’s data will likely be even worse. Which is troubling. As the chart below shows, one would expect just a little more improvement from a recovery in which the just releasedinitial claims of 362K are doing “so much better” compared to initial claims from precisely a year ago which were…362K. Perhaps, keeping in line with greatly rotating themes, we can just call this “the 360 degree recovery – where you always end up where you started.” Or maybe, just maybe, the Fed’s tinkering with the economy for 4 years running has broken the whole thing?