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Number of People on Unemployment Benefits Drops – but the Final Number's Not Anything to Celebrate


Applications for jobless benefits fell by 15,000 for the week ending Jan. 4, bringing the total to 330,000, down from last week’s revised figure of 345,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday.

The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, decreased by 9,750, bringing the total to 349,000, down from the previous unrevised average of 358,750.

There is no indication that snow or the so-called "polar vortex" played a role in the decrease in applications, a Labor Department spokesman told the Associated Press.

“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2 percent for the week ending December 28, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate,” the Labor Department report reads.

“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending December 28 was 2,865,000, an increase of 50,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,815,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,872,250, an increase of 18,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,853,500,” it adds.

The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Dec. 28 were Michigan (+16,056), Pennsylvania (+10,601), New Jersey (+7,345), Ohio (+7,036) and Iowa (+5,369).

Meanwhile, California (-14,635), Texas (-6,723), Florida (-3,738), North Carolina (-2,694), and South Carolina (-2,184) posted the biggest decreases in initial claims.

Markets are posed to open slightly higher than in the past week, perhaps in anticipation of Friday's unemployment report:


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This post has been updated.


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