Jobless Claims (week of 1.29.11) Research Notes

by Jim Baird on February 3, 2011

Jobs market continues to edge forward

As anticipated, initial unemployment claims of 415,000 for the week ending January 30 fell considerably from the revised 457,000 claims in the prior week. 

The actual improvement in the claims number likely exaggerates economic reality as the result for the week ended January 23 was artificially inflated.  Claims from several states during the week of January 16 were processed late due to inclement weather.

The four-week moving average, which reduces the volatility in the data that occurs from week to week, was virtually unchanged.

As economic growth picked up in recent months, the jobs market continues to edge forward at a measured pace.

The story on continuing claims also illustrates gradual improvement, as the weekly result of 3.93 million is nearly 1 million lower than at this time a year ago.

With the outlook for the economy improving, job growth is expected to show improvement in the months ahead. 

As the jobless rate falls, continued growth in spending should also occur, supporting a chain reaction of increasing demand, expanded production needs, and a resulting increase in hiring.

Obviously, this would be a welcome development – one supportive of consumers and ultimately the broad economy.

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