U.S Jobless Claims Rise to Three-Month High

U.S. filings for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose to a three-month high last week during a holiday period when claims tend to be volatile, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.


  • Jobless claims increased by 11k to 261k (est. 245k), highest since week ended Sept. 23, when filings were elevated due to hurricanes
  • Continuing claims fell by 35k to 1.867m in week ended Dec. 30 (data reported with one-week lag), lowest since Dec. 1973
  • Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, rose to 250,750 from the prior week’s 241,750
  • Key Takeaways

    Even with the latest increase, claims remain low by historical standards, with levels below 300,000 seen as indicating a healthy labor market as companies remain reluctant to fire workers. Last week included the New Year’s Day holiday and followed the week containing Christmas, which tend to generate fluctuations in filings due to seasonal positions and difficulties adjusting for them.

    At the same time, further increases in jobless claims could suggest that labor-market progress is hitting bumps. A report last week showed that U.S. employers added fewer jobs in December than economists had penciled in, amid a drop in retail positions.

    Other Details

  • Prior week’s jobless claims unrevised at 250,000
  • Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits fell to 1.3 percent from 1.4 percent in previous week
  • Claims were estimated for Maine in latest week
  • New York, California and Georgia had the biggest increases in unadjusted claims last week
  • Bloomberg

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    Dean Popplewell

    Dean Popplewell

    Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
    Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
    Dean Popplewell