Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jobless Claims Jump

One of the things I've been watching closely is new jobless claims. This number is a very good preditor of the job market and it has been remarkably low considering all the recession talk. Last week though claims jumped to 375,000, way above the 350,000 which is widely considered the divding line between a solid job market and one that is softening. One thing to keep in mind though is that this is a very volatile number and one week does not make a trend. Furthermore, a DOL analyst had this to say:

A Labor Department analyst attributed some of last week's rise to volatility around the Martin Luther King holiday. "The Martin Luther King holiday is a tricky one," the analyst said. "I think this year, we didn't quite get the seasonal factor right."

If this is confirmed next week, we may have a problem. We'll get more news tomorrow with the release of the employment report.

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