NEW YORK — Initial unemployment claims in the United States fell by 10,000 to 307,000 in the week ending Jan. 17, which only partially retraced a cumulative 36,000 increase in the preceding four weeks, RBC Economics announced.
The decline in the latest week, which followed an upwardly revised 317,000 reading (was 316,000), fell short of market expectations for claims to drop to 300,000, said Josh Nye, an RBC economist.
The four-week moving average of initial claims, which helps smooth out some of the weekly volatility in the measure, rose to 306,500 from 300,000 in the previous week and marked the highest average reading in six months, he explained.
Continuing claims for the week ending January 10, 2015 rose by 15,000 to 2,443,000.
“Initial claims have trended higher to date in January with three consecutive weekly readings above 300,000, which is the longest streak since mid-2014,” said Nye. “The latest reading coincided with the survey week for the January payroll employment report, with the four-week moving average of 306,500 solidly above the 298,750 average seen during the December survey week.
“On its own, this would indicate moderation in January 2015 employment growth relative to the 252,000 payroll gain in December 2014,” he explained. “Furthermore, with payroll growth averaging 289,000 in the fourth quarter of 2014, which was the strongest pace since the first quarter of 2006, there may be additional room for employment gains to moderate in early 2015 relative to the unexpectedly strong pace seen late last year.”
SOURCE: RBC Economics press release