Initial Jobless Claims totaled 402k, 12k more than expected and up from 396k last week (revised up by 3k). It follows 3 weeks in a row of below 400k but while the data is seasonally adjusted, the Thanksgiving holiday may have been a factor in the deviation relative to expectations even though the Labor Dept said there was nothing unusual in the data. The 4 week average was little changed at 396k vs 395k. Continuing Claims did rise by 35k and were 90k more than expected and Extended Benefits rose by a net 70k. The last extension of unemployment benefits expire at yr’s end and its extension of course will be political fodder on both sides. To this, while many jobs available don’t fit the skill set of demand, as of Sept 30th, there were 3.3mm job openings, the most since Aug ’08. Tomorrow’s Payroll estimate is for a gain of 125k, 150k of which are from the private sector.
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