US: Jobless claims pick up slightly at the start of the year

In the week ending the 5th of January, US initial jobless claims increased further, rising from a downwardly revised 367 000 to 371 000. The consensus was looking for a slight drop in initial claims to 365 000. The less volatile four-week moving average edged up from 359 000 to 365 750. Although the Labour Department gave no details, the data might continue to be distorted as the week under review included the New Year’s Day market holiday. In the coming weeks, the claims will return gradually to more reliable levels. Continuing claims, which are reported with an extra week lag, dropped sharply, reaching their lowest level since late 2008. Continuing claims fell by 127 000 to 3 109 000 in the week ending the 29th of December. Also continuing claims might have been distorted by the end of the year volatility.

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