Claims data, seasonal distortions but hiring still punk

Initial Jobless Claims totaled 482k, 42k above expectations and up from 446k last week. It’s the highest reading since mid Nov and up for a 2nd straight week BUT a Labor Dept official did say that a backlog in the processing of claims due to the Christmas and New Yrs holidays was a factor in the surge this week but it wasn’t quantified. Also, some states had to estimate claim filings due to the MLK holiday. Thus, take today’s initial claims data with a grain of salt. BUT, those collecting benefits past the 26 week (delayed by 1 week) phase rose by a huge 612k as measured by EUC and Extended Benefits data (delayed by 2 weeks) after falling 135k in the prior week. Thus, those collecting benefits still are having difficulty in finding new jobs. I’m sure seasonal factors influenced the extended claims data at yr end but the trend upward unfortunately is continuing.

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