1st Time Unemployment Claims Rise Sharply; Largest Jump in Three Months.

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • There were 245,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended December 16, an increase of 20,000 from the prior week, the largest week-week jump since the beginning of September when claims were affected by storms;
  • The number of initial claims for the week ended December 9 was UNCHANGED at 225,000
  • The four-week moving average of first time claims ROSE 1,250 to 236,000;
  • Four week moving average represented 0.153 percent of employment, unchanged from one week earlier;
  • The number of continued claims – reported on a one-week lag – for the week ended December 9 was 1,932,000, UP 43,000 from the previous week;
  • The four-week moving average of continuing claims INCREASED 4,250 to 1,923,000, the highest level since the end of September.

Image result for unemployment benefits

Layoffs jumped in mid-December as employers assessed the strength of end of year activity and as a result initial claims for unemployment insurance saw their largest jump in more than two months, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

It was the first increase in initial claims since mid-November.

At the same time, the Labor Department reported a sizable jump in continued claims suggesting employers may have put the brakes on hiring even as layoffs increased.

The report offered mixed signals for the December Employment Situation report to be released January 5; from mid-November to mid-December initial claims increased 5,000 but the four-week moving average of first-time claims dropped 4,000. An increase in the number of claims generally suggests an increase in the number of people unemployed and the unemployment rate.

Since the data on continued claims is reported with a one-week lag, mid-month to mid-month comparisons will not be available for another week.

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. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

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