Applications for unemployment benefits in regular state programs rose last week to 207,000 for the week ended January 1, the Labor Department reported today, Thursday, January 6. That was up 7,000 from the prior week and above the 195,000 predicted by economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The total remained near historic lows.
Continuing claims for state benefits rose to 1.75 million in the week ended Dec. 25.
The caveat with all these numbers is that they are seasonally adjusted and that it is difficult, past holiday seasons say, to get the adjustments right during the holidays. On an unadjusted basis, initial claims rose by 58,000 to 315,469.
Tomorrow the Labor Department reports jobs gains or losses for December. Economists expect that report to show the U.S. added 433,000 jobs in December as the labor market recovery continued. A report Wednesday from ADP Research Institute showed U.S. companies in December added the most jobs in seven months.
Th most accurate thing to say about the financial markets today is that they took a breather after yesterday’s plunge and ahead of tomorrow’s jobs news
The Standard & Poor’s 500 was up for much of the day, ahead 0.37% at 3 p.m. New York time, but then fell steadily to close the day down 0.10%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed off 0.47% and the NASDAQ Composite was lower at the close by 0.13%. The Russell 2000 small cap index was ahead 0.60%.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose 3 basis points to 1.73%.
The CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX) edged slightly higher by 0.46% to 19.82.