U.S. Jobless Claims Rise, But Distorted By Holidays

unemployment claims holidays

WASHINGTON, Jan 3 (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, but the data continues to be too distorted by the holidays to offer a clear read of labor market conditions.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 372,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's figure was revised to show 12,000 more applications than previously reported.

Claims data reported for the week ended Dec. 22 had been artificially depressed by the holidays, which resulted in data for 19 states being estimated.

A Labor Department official said claims data for nine states, including California and Virginia, had been estimated last week because of the Christmas and New Year holidays. This suggests the numbers are subject to revisions next week.

More: Fiscal Cliff Deal Cuts Average Workers' Paycheck By $1,000

The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, rose 250 to 360,000. The claims data has no bearing on December's employment report, scheduled for release on Friday.

Employers are expected to have added 150,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, little changed from 146,000 in November, according to a Reuters survey of economists.

Job gains in the first 11 months of last year averaged about 151,000 per month, not enough to significantly lower unemployment. Employers' hesitancy to ramp up hiring had been blamed on the so-called fiscal cliff, a combination of sharp government spending cuts and higher taxes.

Although Congress this week approved a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, the budget problems are far from resolved. That could continue to cast a shadow of uncertainty and hurt job growth.

The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid increased 44,000 to 3.25 million in the week ended Dec. 22.





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4 Comments

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LacuevaKnl

The 7.8% unemployment rate, reflecting a 1/10 the of a percent improvement from November, is grossly misleading. It does NOT reflect the unemployed ranks who have given up looking for work during the Holidays...Thanksgiving thru New Years, because they knew the prospect of finding anything other than seasonal Sales work, was non-existent!! ACTUAL Unemployed rates stand steady at approx. 10% Nationwide....a record high over the lastr 60 years. Obama and Geithner, the outgoing Secretary of the Treasury, refuse to acknowledge the unemployed who have given up looking for work...because they know the REAL Figures would have made people think twice about how they voted in November!!

January 04 2013 at 11:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
newbasicse

ARE YOU KIDDING OBAMACARE, TAX INCREASES, WHY WOULD EMPLOYERS TAKE THE RISK OF HIRING,
WHEN FIRING COSTS TO MUCH. NOW BO HAS THE AVERAGE JOE HATING HIS EMPLOYER, 1099'S FOR ALL. YOU ALL CAN START YOU OWN COMPANIES, TAKE YOUR OWN DESTINY ON YOUR OWN HANDS AND GROW UP

January 03 2013 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RMS

Yesterday the article here said claims declined. so which is it????

January 03 2013 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
unatzs

Hey Huffington! You have a storey about jobless claims hit important new lows, and a stoery about jobless claims rise. WTF?

January 03 2013 at 10:24 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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