Initial Jobless Claims totaled 440k, 25k below expectations and bucks the trend over the last few weeks that saw unexpected increases. It is down from 483k last week and is at a 5 week low. The 4 week average, which helps to smooth the weekly volatility, was 469k vs 470k last week. Those collecting claims after the first week and up to 26 fell by 79k and were 62k below expectations and Extended Benefits that reach 99 weeks in some states, fell by 172k after rising 242k last week. There is not enough info within this data to say whether the fall in extended benefits is due to people falling off the rolls because they can’t find a job or because they found new jobs. Based on last Friday’s Jan jobs report, we know job hiring still remains punk but at least the pace of net firing has come to a near halt.
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