All of that global warming falling from the sky is being blamed for an unexpected rise in jobless claims last week.
More Americans than forecast filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments last week, indicating it will take time for the labor market to mend.
Applications for jobless benefits increased by 51,000 to 454,000 in the week ended Jan. 22, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 405,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls rose, while those collecting extended payments fell.
A Labor Department official said snow in four southern states in previous weeks created a backlog of claims that were processed last week. While the economy has improved, it hasn’t been enough to reduce an unemployment rate that Federal Reserve policy makers said yesterday is too high and requires pressing ahead with a $600 billion stimulus plan.
“If claims drift higher, we’re just going to have to wait and see, tread water,” Julia Coronado, chief economist for North America at BNP Paribas in New York, said. “We’re creating enough jobs to keep the unemployment rate roughly steady and at a pace to keep the economy on track, but it’s not necessarily a picture of rapid improvement.”
Understatement of the year.