Noticeable improvement is underway in the jobs market based on initial jobless claims that, at 330,000 for a 5,000 decline in the January 19 week, are exactly at a five-year low. The four-week average is nearly at a five-year low, down a sizable 8,250 to 351,750 and is trending more than 10,000 below the month-ago level.
Continuing claims, at 3.157 million for a 71,000 decrease in the January 12 week, are at a 4-1/2 year low. The unemployment rate for insured workers remains at 2.5 percent which is also a recovery low.
Though the Labor Department says there's no special factors in today's report, three states were estimated, including California, which does raise the risk of revisions in next week's report. Still, today's report is signaling tangible improvement for the January employment report and should be a major positive for today's stock market.
Initial jobless claims in the January 12 week plunged 37,000 to 335,000 for a recovery low and massively below Econoday expectations for 368,000. Although there were no unusual factors skewing the latest data, seasonal adjustments played the biggest role of the year as claims before adjustments were at their highest point of the year. Effects from Hurricane Sandy continue to distort the monthly comparison of the four-week average which further clouds the data's usefulness as a gauge for the monthly employment report. The four-week average is down 6,750 to 359,250 which is about 10,000 below the mid-December level.