The number of American applying for jobless claims rose by 7,000 to 284,000 for the week ending January 9, higher than the estimate for 275,000. The Labor Department also said on Thursday that the prior week was unrevised at 277,000.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims actually falling and a Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors that contributed to the report.
Still, the report marks the 45th consecutive week that the weekly jobless claims data remained below the 300,000 mark, typically associated with strong labor market conditions and the longest such stretch since the early 1970s. The 4-week moving average–which is widely considered a better gauge as it irons out volatility–was 278,750, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 275,750.
Worth noting, the number of weekly jobless claims in the report is directly influenced by the number of long-term unemployed Americans, who are simply no longer eligible for benefits and are no longer looking for a job. Further, the claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid rose 29,000to 2.26 million in the week ended Jan. 2. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims increased 5,250 to 2.22 million.
No state was triggered “on” the Extended Benefits program during the week ending December 26.
Initial claims for UI benefits filed by former Federal civilian employees totaled 1,071 in the week ending January 2, an increase of 181 from the prior week. There were 875 initial claims filed by newly discharged veterans, an increase of 145 from the preceding week. There were 15,123 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending December 26, an increase of 2,160 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 16,454, an increase of 851 from the prior week.
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending December 26 were in Alaska (4.9), Montana (3.2), New Jersey (2.9), Pennsylvania (2.8), West Virginia (2.8), Connecticut (2.7), Illinois (2.6), Minnesota (2.6), Wyoming (2.6), Massachusetts (2.5), Nevada (2.5), and Rhode Island (2.5).
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending January 2 were in New York (+15,090), Georgia (+12,139), Pennsylvania (+11,216), Alabama (+3,272), and Wisconsin (+3,266), while the largest decreases were in Illinois (- 3,633), California (-2,191), Puerto Rico (-1,718), Ohio (-1,428), and Maryland (-1,061).