It’s that time again. It’s time for your weekly unemployment claims report.
Applications for jobless benefits rose by 38,000 for the week ending January 26, bringing the total to 368,000, up from last week’s revised figure of 330,000, the Labor Department announced on Thursday.
That’s the greatest increase in claims since Hurricane Sandy smashed into the east coast.
The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, increased by 250, bringing the total to 352,000, up from last week’s revised average of 351,750.
“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5 percent for the week ending January 19, unchanged from the prior week’s unrevised rate,” the report reads.
“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending January 19 was 3,197,000, an increase of 22,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,175,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,192,250, a decrease of 9,750 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,202,000,” it adds.
The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending January 19 were Florida (+1,157), Arizona (+295), and Vermont (+77).
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania (-12,625), Texas (-10,448), North Carolina (-9,287), New York (-7,379), and Indiana (-6,069) posted the biggest decreases in initial claims.
For its part, the Associated Press theorizes that the spike in claims could be due to post-holiday layoffs — and, yes, we’re talking about the week ending January 26.
“The volatility reflects the government’s difficulty adjusting the data to account for layoffs after the holiday shopping season. Job cuts typically spike in the second week in January as retailers dismiss temporary employees hired for the winter holidays. Layoffs then fall in the second half of the month,” the report reads.
“The department attempts to adjust for such fluctuations but the January figures can still be volatile. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, ticked up to 352,000, just above a four-year low,” the report adds.
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Front page photo courtesy Getty Images.