In likely weather related noise, Initial Jobless Claims totaled 496k, 36k higher than expected and up from a revised 474k last week. Continuing Claims, delayed by one week, rose just 6k but were 47k above expectations. Extended benefits, reported on a 2 week lag, fell by a net 320k but follow a gain of 275k last week. Bottom line, the snow storms were a definite influence on the reported data likely due to the administrative backlogs that got created, thus don’t read too much into the data. With this said, the trend in initial claims is still too high and while the pace of firings still has slowed dramatically, companies still remain very reluctant to aggressively add workers on a permanent basis.
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