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Last week's increase in claims is not significant





Weekly claims for unemployment jumped "unexpectedly," but I don't think this leads to the conclusion that the labor market is suddenly deteriorating. As the second of these two charts shows, weekly volatility in this series is the norm. As the first shows, when comparing the recent week to the same week a year ago, the pattern of unadjusted claims is the same. Unadjusted claims this year were almost 9% below where they were a year ago, and that is in keeping with the pattern we've been seeing for the past two months. Given that Good Friday was involved in one of these numbers, it's likely that today's reported increase in claims was an artifact of the seasonal adjustment process.


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