Unemployment Claims Jump as Holiday Jobs Disappear


By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 231,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended December 28, an INCREASE of 10.000 from the prior week’s upwardly revised report (216,000 to 221,000)
  • The four-week moving average of first time claims DECLINED 500 to 218,750;
  • Four week moving average represented 0.140 percent of employment, UNCHANGED from the] previous week.
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,740,000 for the week ended December 21, UP 32,000 from the previous week’s upwardly REVISED 1,708,000 (from 1,701,000);
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims ROSE 26,000 to 1,703,500.

Trends:

  • First-time claims rose for the third straight week and sixth time in the last eight weeks;
  • The number of continued claims rose for the fourth straight week, the longest stretch since Spring 2017;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims topped 1,700,000 for the first time since the week ended September 1, signaling a possible hiring slowdown.

Data Source: Department of Labor

Image result for unemployment insurance claims


The increase in first time claims for unemployment insurance came as scheduled in the last week of 2018 – the first post-holiday shopping week – a painful way to greet the new year. It’s unclear what the contribution of furloughed federal workers made to the tally. Those numbers are reported on a longer lag.

What is clear though is a disturbing trend in continued claims – a rough measure of job creation taking individuals off the unemployment rolls.

The weekly report set the stage for the December Employment Situation Report to be published Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Department of Labor has been unaffected by the government shutdown.

From mid-November to mid-December, the number of first-time claims fell 8,00 while the four-week moving average of first-time claims fell 4,000. The number of continued claims rose 3,00 during the same period and the four-week moving average of continued claims jumped 10,750, suggesting a dip in job creation.

You can hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124.

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