Initial jobless claims unexpectedly jumped to an alarming 374,000. Economists were expecting about 310,000. I guess California’s computer glitches have been fixed.
The leap in claims largely reflects recurrent computer problems in California, a Labor spokesman said, but some states also reported higher layoffs in private-sector industries such as defense that rely heavily on federal contracts. California’s switchover to a new computer system in early September has resulted in prolonged delays in working through claims applications. The latest claims report, however, does not include furloughed government employees. They file applications through a separate program and do not show up in the Labor Department’s main claims report. The average of new claims over the past month, usually a more reliable gauge, jumped 20,000 to 325,000.
Initial jobless claims are still reported during a shutdown because those numbers are compiled by the stats. You have to wonder if it’s more accurate now, maybe there are fewer BLS workers to make things up.