Jobless claims decreased by 42K, but had weather related increase in the South

In week ending Jan. 29, the adjusted initial jobless claims came in at 415K, a decrease of 42K from the previous week's revised figure of 457K. The 4-week moving average was 430.5K, an increase of 1K from the previous week's revised average of 429.5K.

This number was artificially high due to the weather related buildup of claims in the South. If you take out the Southern states of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama, you have about 25K fewer jobless claims, which would represent a big shift downward. However, that also means that these same states had big decreases before.

Distortions put the emphasis on the four-week average which, unfortunately, is up. We will pay close attention to tomorrows monthly employment report. The four-week average is up 1K to 430.5K to show a roughly 15K rise from a month ago.

Other data are positive for employment as continuing claims are down 84K to 3.925 MM in the January 22 week, with the unemployment rate for insured workers down one tenth to 3.1%. Total workers receiving claims fell a little more than 112K to 9.29 MM in lagging data for the January 15 week.


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