As I've complained in the past, the media frequently make too much of a single week's data on unemployment claims. There will likely be some tendency to hype the fact that last week's claims were reported today as 380,000 [corrected --thanks David G.], well above the consensus expectation of 355,000.
Before the exaggerations were on the positive side, today they are likely to be on the pessimistic side. Remember folks, it is just one week's worth of data. The numbers are erratic and are subject to revision (almost always upward).
There is probably some reality to this rise for reasons I have written on in the past. The unusually good weather in the Northeast and Midwest meant that there was likely more employment in construction, restaurants, retail and other sectors in these months than would typically be the case. This means that there will be less hiring in spring than usual.
This shows up in the UI data because people who lose their jobs will have a more difficult time getting new jobs in April than would ordinarily be the case because the seasonal openings are not there. This is not a disaster -- the economy is not in danger of sliding into a recession -- it just means that job growth will likely be somewhat slower in the months ahead than it was in the winter months.
One more point. The number of claims reported for two weeks ago was revised up from 357,000 to 367,000. This means that it was not the lowest number of claims reported for four years.
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