Initial Jobless Claims Jump To 354,000

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It’s Thursday and you know what that means. The initial jobless claims number reported last week was adjusted upward, as is the norm these days, so the number “only” increased by 10,000 to 354,000. That’s still more than economists predicted.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 354,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 4,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to hold steady at 340,000 last week.

A Labor Department analyst said claims for five states, including Virginia, Minnesota and Oregon, were estimated since state offices had less time to prepare data because of the national holiday on Monday.

This could have the distorted the readings, making last week’s claims a less useful gauge of labor market trends.  (Read More)

As usual, the above isn’t the only bad economic news this week.

Just when there was some concern that the US economy was no longer imploding at the usual pace, we get confirmation that nothing is actually better, following the one-two punch of weaker than expected Q1 revised GDP data, printing at 2.4% on expectations of an unchanged 2.5% print driven by a revision in Private Inventories (from 1.03% to 0.63% of total GDP, offset by a plunge in imports sliding from -0.9% to -0.32%). Personal Consumption posted a tiny increase from 2.24% to 2.40% which can only mean the consumer overextended themselves in Q1 – perhaps it is about time to ask the question of how consumption in the “sequester” and tax-hike quarter was the highest since Q4 2010. (Read More)

Ah well, at least Ben Bernanke still has an excuse to keep on pumping so investors should be happy for now.