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Jobless Claims: Another Sharp Increase

January 20, 2022
Bottom Line: Claims rose sharply on a seasonally adjusted basis in the second full week of 2022 as employment offices continued to process more backlogs than typical for this time of year. We've been concerned for several weeks now that our Nowcast index for claims was running sharply higher than reported claims, suggesting processing bottlenecks. That said, seasonal adjustments remain significant, and claims in California were estimated last week. Overall, looking through the volatility, the trend has turned notably to start the year. While the omicron variant has tended to cause less severe symptoms, it appears enough to have hindered employment as families struggle with issues like childcare when a member of their household gets a positive test.
Our Nowcast index suggests we could see one more week of notably higher claims before they should top out. This bears close watching going forward. If claims remain over 250k as the March FOMC approaches, the monetary policy calculus could shift significantly.
Initial Jobless Claims
ROSE 55k in the week ended January 15th to 286k, ABOVE the 4-week average of 231k, ABOVE the 13-week average of 233.61538k but 600k BELOW the year-ago level. Claims for the 8th of Jan were revised up from +230k to +231k. Non-seasonally adjusted Claims FELL 83.418k.
Continuing Claims ROSE 84k in the week ended January 8th to 1.635M, BELOW the 4-week average of 1.66425M, BELOW the 13-week average of 1.926615M and 3.426M BELOW the year-ago level. Continuing Claims for the 1st of Jan were revised down from +1.559M to +1.551M.
The Insured Jobless Rate ROSE 10bps in the week ended January 8thThe insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.