Initial Jobless Claims Up Slightly for Week Ending 1/16

As I’ve suggested for the past month, staying on top of initial jobless claims is one of the best ways to keep track of the economy.  As announced today, the seasonally adjusted claims was 482,000, an increase of 36,000 from the previous week’s figure.  The 4-week moving average was 448,250, which is an increase of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 441,250.  Watching the figures over the month is a better way to assess change.  Here is Mark Zandi’s very useful interpretation of the figures:   Only when claims head down to 400,000 will the economy be creating enough jobs to maintain stable unemployment.  Closer to 350,000 will lower the unemployment rate and mean that the recovery is evolving into an expansion.  When we get to initial weekly unemployment claims of 300,000, boom times are back.
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