Initial Jobless Claims Rose More Than Expected

Economists were caught off guard this morning when initial jobless claims came in higher than expected. How very unusual.

The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose more than expected, underlining concerns over the strength of the labor market, official data showed on Thursday.

In a report, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending March 29 increased by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 310,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 7,000 to 317,000 last week. (Read More)

That’s not the only bad economic news of the day.

So much for those already abysmally low Q1 GDP forecasts. Moments ago, the Census Bureau released trade data for February which crushed expectations of an improvement from $39.1 billion (revised to $39.3 billion) to $38.5 billion, and instead rose 7.7% to $42.3 billion, the highest monthly trade deficit since September. This was driven by a 0.4% increase in imports to to $231.7 billion offset by a drop in exports of 1.1%  to $192.5 billion. The goods deficit increased $2.2 billion from January to $61.7 billion in February; the services surplus decreased $0.8 billion from January to $19.4 billion in February. (Read More)

This is all just part of the new normal.