Is This Further Jump In Jobless Claims Evidence of Sluggish Q4 Growth?

Despite recent hiccups in the weekly jobless claims and a slowly improving economy, continued support from the central bank to curb interest rates and strengthen hiring has been paying off, overall. Jobless claims have been trending downward and offer cautious optimism for future hiring patterns. However, this past week’s numbers revealed an increase of 16,000 claims, that points to slowing of economic growth that gained steam earlier in the year, even though numbers are lower than this time last year.

For the week which ended on March 23,  the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 357,000, an increase of 16,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 341,000. However, even with the uptick in claims, the weekly numbers still fall short of the same period last year, by roughly 6,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis. Claims swelled about 4.48 percent in the week-over-week reports.

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Week Ended

Mar. 23, 2013

Mar. 16, 2013

Mar. 9, 2013

Mar. 23, 2012

Initial Claims

357,000

341,000

334,000

363,000

4-Week Moving Average

343,000

340,750

347,000

367,000

 

California and Virginia both experienced an uptick in layoffs in the service and manufacturing sectors, which contributed to pushing the numbers up. California increased its jobless claims by 3,007, and Virginia by 1,165. Numerous states reported fewer layoffs, including Pennsylvania and New York with 2,497 and 2,116 fewer claims week over week, respectively. Other states including Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky all reported fewer claims as well. The states cited fewer layoffs in a range of industries, notably construction and manufacturing.

Although the numbers have been up and down, the numbers overall have been trending down with spikes here and there, as seen in the last week or two. In terms of measurement, claims below 400,000 mark is indicative of an improving job market.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

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