US new claims jump threatens positive unemployment trend

Ben Southwood
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NEW unemployment insurance claims in the US rocketed last week, data from the Department of Labor revealed yesterday.

Seasonally-adjusted new claims soared 46,000, bringing the total from 342,000 in the week ending 6 October to 388,000 in the week ending 13 October – reversing months of small improvements.

This adjusted figure came from a 29,129 increase in actually recorded new claims, pushing them up to 359,048 last week – just above last year’s 357,562.

But the department warned that figures from the last two weeks may not be comparable with previous data due to a change in the way one state reported its data.

And the four-week moving average edged up just 750, staying well below the figure for the prior year. Total unemployment – for a week prior – also fell, from 3.28m to 3.25m, suggesting the jump might be a short-term blip.