Jobless Claims Spike

The Labor Department reported this morning that there were 439,000 initial jobless claims, a 78,000 increase from the previous week’s 361,000. These latest numbers stand out because the trend has been for claims to be holding steady or coming down; last week’s spike is almost certainly attributable to Hurricane Sandy. The four-week moving average of claims, which is less noisy than any new week of data, rose 11,750 to 383,750.