Jobless Claims and the Weather

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Thursday, 10 February 2011 14:20

Reuters highlighted the drop in new jobless claims reported for last week to 383,000, which it pointed out was a 2 1/2 year low. It would have been worth mentioning that weather may have been a factor limiting claims last week. A severe snowstorm hit much of the Midwest and Northeast, likely making it difficult for people to file claims.

A large jump in claims in the second week of January to 447,000, was explained at the time by the fact that weather had prevented laid off workers from filing claims in the prior weeks. If that explanation was true, then it is likely that weather also prevented people from filing claims last week, which means that we should expect a jump in claims next week.

It is good that this report appears to be receiving some attention. The last few reports, which showed higher than expected claims, had been given very little coverage.