About that Unemployment...
More Americans than anticipated filed claims for unemployment benefits last week, reflecting a backlog of applications from the year-end holidays.
Initial jobless claims rose by 36,000 to 482,000 in the week ended Jan. 16, the highest level in two months, from 446,000 the prior week, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The jump was due to an “administrative” accumulation from late December and early January holidays, and did not reflect “economic” reasons, a Labor Department spokesman said.
The biggest increase in sales in two decades and an expanding economy may be prompting companies to retain remaining staff after cutting 7.2 million workers from payrolls since the recession began in December 2007. A rebound in hiring may take longer to develop, one reason why unemployment is forecast to average 10 percent this year.
“The trend in employment is still toward improvement,” said James O’Sullivan, chief economist at MF Global Ltd. In New York. “This level of claims is still associated with net declines in payrolls, but the message is that declines are getting smaller and smaller.”
Stock-index futures dropped immediately after the report, erasing earlier gains. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 0.1 percent to 1,133.2 at 8:49 a.m. in New York. Treasury securities fell.
As always, LOL @ "unexpectedly"