The number of newly laid-off workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits rose unexpectedly last week, evidence that layoffs are continuing and jobs remain scarce.
The rise is the fourth in the past five weeks. Most economists hoped that claims would resume a downward trend that was evident in the fall and early winter.
The Labor Department says that new claims for unemployment insurance rose by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 480,000. Wall Street economists had expected a drop to 460,000.
The rolling average rose for the third straight week as well. This follows yesterday’s report that planned layoffs have begun increasing again:
Planned layoff announcements at major U.S. corporations increased 59% in January, reaching 71,482 from a nine-year low of 45,094 seen in December, according to the latest job-cut tally by Challenger Gray & Christmas.
It was the first month-to-month increase in layoffs since July, the outplacement firm reported Wednesday. The figures are not seasonally adjusted. …
Planned reductions for last month were led by retail companies, which announced 16,737 job cuts, and telecommunications companies, which cut 14,010 jobs.
That would appear to cast a pall over tomorrow’s announcement from the Bureau of Labor Statistics about unemployment and job creation for January. Of course, if it turns out to be bad news, the media will call it an “unexpected” burp in the Glorious Recovery.