The 21k initial claims surge to 275k
The 21k initial claims surge to 275k in the BLS survey week of December, after a 4k drop to 254k, left claims above the 268k Thanksgiving week figure and well above the 43-year low of 233k in the week of Veteran's Day. Today's surge likely reflects the usual holiday volatility that stretches from Veteran's Day through the MLK weekend in January, and analysts still see the claims trend as tight. Claims are averaging 263k thus far in December after lower prior averages of 252k in November, 257k in October, 254k in September, and 262k in August. The 275k December BLS survey week reading sharply exceeded the 233k November BLS figure, but also overshot prior BLS survey week readings of 261k in October, 251k in September, and 262k in August. Analysts still expect a 185k December nonfarm payroll rise with net upside risk from a tight claims trend, an oil-led factory rebound and a diminishing inventory headwind that are lifting producer sentiment. Analysts also have a surging stock market, rising consumer confidence, and mild weather through early-December before a late-month cold snap.