US Unemployment On the Rise Again

Published by: Frank Galvano on 27th Jan 2011 | View all blogs by Frank Galvano
US Unemployment On the Rise Again

The US Labor Department reported on Thursday that initial jobless claims increased last week, renewing concerns about the nation's job market.  The report showed 454,000 Americans filed for benefits for the first time in the week ending January 22nd, up 51,000 from the 403,000 first-time filers the week before, and significantly worse than the 410,000 economists had projected in a recent Briefing.com survey.

Unemployment data is somewhat volatile, varying widely from week to week.  Claims actually fell below the 400,000 mark in late December, but have been steadily rising since.  Some economists say  numbers could still be skewed by the cutting of seasonal holiday jobs, as well as severe snowstorms in the Northeast over the last few weeks.

Because the weekly figures can be so erratic, a four-week moving average is calculated to smooth out volatility.  That number rose 15,750 to 428,750 in the week ending January 22nd.  Continuing claims, which includes all Americans receiving jobless benefits except initial claims, climbed to 3,391,000 for the week ending January 15th, up 94,000 from the previous week.  Continuing claims data typically lags behind initial claims data by one week.

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