Following 19 Weekly Declines, Jobless Claims Rise
WSJ -- "The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week -- an increase a U.S. Labor Department economist said is partly due to an administrative backlog in processing claims. Total claims lasting more than one week, meanwhile, declined.
The four-week moving average, which aims to smooth volatility in the data, also increased as well last week. The Labor Department said the four-week moving average increased by 7,000 to 448,250 from the previous week's revised average of 441,250 (see chart above). An economist at the U.S. Labor Department Thursday said last week's numbers were higher then expected in part because the Christmas and New Years holidays created a backlog in some states. "It is not an economic thing -- it is an administrative thing," he said."
MP: Following nineteen consecutive weekly declines in jobless claims, the 4-week average rose last week for the first since last August. As the Labor Department report suggests, it might be more of an "administrative" factor than any significant reversal of the downward trend since March.