The number of new claims for unemployment edged up slightly last week to 434,000. Analysts had predicted a much larger jump, to 447,000. The one week rise followed two straight weeks of declines, and the four week average, considered to be a more reliable indicator of trends in the job market, continued it’s 18 week decline. Today’s report comes in advance of tomorrow’s Department of Labor employment report for the month of December.
A month ago analysts, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, were predicting we would not see any job growth until spring. Now various experts are anticipating a report that will show no net job losses and possibly even a small amount of gain tomorrow. A Reuters survey of economists predicts a flat job market in December, while analysts at JP Morgan suggest that non farm payrolls might have risen by as much as 40,000.Initial Claims for Unemployment up by 1000, Better than Expected by Harrison Barnes