Layoffs appear to have picked up through January judging by disappointing jobless data. Initial claims in the Jan. 30 week rose 8,000 to 480,00 with the prior week revised 2,000 higher to 472,000. Importantly, the Labor Department said there are no special factors in the latest week. The four-week average rose for the third straight week, up 11,750 to 468,750. The average hit a low of 440,750 in early January before the run higher. A month-to-month comparison of the four-week average against December shows little change. Equities and commodities fell in immediate reaction to the data.
Here is a chart of the data:
Notice the 4-week moving average also moved higher in the late summer before continuing its
downtrend. That does not mean we will see the same event here. However, the overall trend is still lower.