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All statistics around Christmastide are shaky because of the unreliability of the seasonal adjustment factors. But this is not good news:

Calculated Risk: Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims increase sharply to 454,000: The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:

In the week ending Jan. 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 454,000, an increase of 51,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 403,000. The 4-week moving average was 428,750, an increase of 15,750 from the previous week's revised average of 413,000. Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims for the last 10 years. The dashed line on the graph is the current 4-week average. The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims increased this week by 15,750 to 428,750...