Jobless Claims Decrease Despite Rising Oil Fears
Initial claims for unemployment benefits did not fall by quite as much as economists had predicted last week, but did decline by 10K, to 307K, from the previous week's seven-month high. Now, job market watcher remain divided on whether the mixed results are flukes of the post-holiday season or possibly tied to the collapse in oil prices.
Claims did rise in oil-rich states like Texas, Louisiana and North Dakota. And Baker Hughes, an oilfield service provider, announced this week that it would lay off 7K workers. But Reuters points out that initial claims also jumped in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri, which do not have oil-dependent economies. Perhaps the most troubling statistic from the latest Labor Department report is that the four-week moving average of claims inched above the pivotal 300K threshold for the first time since last June.