New weekly jobless claims jumped to 965,000 in the week that ended January 2, the Department of Labor said Wednesday.
That is far above expectations for 800,000 claims. The previous week’s estimate was revised down by 3,000 claims to 784,000.
Jobless claims can be volatile week to week so many economists prefer to look at the four-week average. This rose to 834,250, an increase of 18,250 from the previous week’s downwardly revised average.
Jobless claims—which are a proxy for layoffs—remain at extremely high levels. Prior to the pandemic, the highest level of claims was 695,000 hit in October of 1982. In March of 2009, at the depths of the financial crisis recession, jobless claims peaked at 665,000.
Even when the economy is creating a lot of demand for workers, many businesses will shed employees as they adjust to market conditions. But in a high-pressure labor market, those employees quickly find jobs and