Initial Jobless Claims Higher Than Expected

The latest jobless claims numbers are in, and again, the number of people filing for first time jobless benefits is higher than economists expected. The only good news is that there are fewer jobless claims than last week, which was really bad.

Applications for jobless benefits decreased by 23,000 to 393,000 in the week ended Nov. 24, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 390,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

The drop in claims indicates the job market in the mid- Atlantic region, which employs about 14 percent of U.S. workers, may be stabilizing after Sandy put some area residents out of work at the start of the month. Apart from the storm-related damage, job creation will probably be limited as companies navigate the global economic slowdown and U.S. fiscal outlook.

“Clearly Sandy is continuing to distort the data, and I expect that to continue,” Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, said before the report. “My best guess is that the underlying claims number was pretty close to where we had been running pre-storm, which would be around 365,000. Claims are consistent with relatively slow but steady job growth.”

Estimates for first-time claims ranged from 350,000 to 430,000 in the Bloomberg survey of 49 economists. The previous week’s figure was revised to 416,000 from a previously reported 410,000. (Read More)

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the number reported today revised upward to over 400,000 when nobody’s looking. And who knows, maybe tomorrow the government will report that the unemployment rate fell.

Update: More from Zero Hedge

Claims missed expectations and prior data was revised higher leaving the four-week-average at its highest since October 2011 jumping back over 400k. More critically, when we dig into the details on the DoL site, we find some rather disturbing trends that totally dismiss Sandy effects. For instance, according to the DoL,there were 30.6k fewer initial claims in New York Last week – when this higher aggregate data point is supposed to be due to ‘Sandy’. FL, MI, and MA saw the largest increases in claims. (Read More)

Oh well, with so much welfare who really needs a job these days?