Weekly Jobs Data: When Less-Bad Is Good

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The Labor Department just released the Weekly Jobless Claims data for the week ended January 3.  While this number is arguably one that could have fluctuated wildly after the same sort of wild surprise the prior week, the results are again a surprise of "less bad" data.  It seems that companies just didn’t fire quite as many people in December as it had before.  But….

Bloomberg had consensus estimates at roughly 540,000 for the week.  Thenumbers came in at 467,000.  But the continuing claims came in upanother 101,000 to a new high of 4.61 million jobs.  We no longer havean army of unemployed workers.  We have two armies of unemployedworkers.

What is interesting is that this and the added horrible ADP shouldaffect the projections for non-farm payrolls tomorrow morning.  The unemployment rate is expected to be 7.0%.  Don’tbe surprised if the non-farm payrolls data now looks slightly "lessbad" than what was expected just on Tuesday.

Regardless of what these numbers were, we expect a huge drop off inretail, temporary, and hourly workers after the middle of the month.

Jon C. Ogg
January 8, 2009