Unemployment Claims Rise Again
New jobless claims spiked last week, despite reports in the week prior that claims had fallen sharply since the surge at the beginning of the year. The number of the newly unemployed filing for benefits increased by 31,000.
But this isn't necessarily anything to worry about. At least not until we have some more long term data to indicate a trend.
Some analysts believe the spike was caused by a small backlog created by last week's snowstorm. This is a reasonably plausible explanation. After all, the government did shut down for a few days because of the weather.
If you look at the average number of claims for the last month—a more reliable statistic than the weekly—we're actually doing relatively well.
Relative, in this case, meaning extremely relative. It's important to remember that we've lost 8.4 million jobs since the beginning of the recession. Any week-to-week change in these numbers is a small drop in the bucket when looked at in the context of total job losses over the course of the meltdown, which is a sobering context indeed.