This week's US jobless claims are 45,000 higher than expected

This week's US initial jobless claims figures have shot up.

Analysts had expected a fall from 369,000 (368,000) to 334,000 for the week ended 13 December, but claims have risen to 379,000 - 45,000 higher than expected.

That's the highest number since March.

But the data has lost its significance. While investors had been watching the numbers for an indication of whether the Federal Reserve might begin tapering QE, that's no longer relevant.