U.S. jobless claims jump to highest level since mid-November

U.S. jobless claims jump to highest level since mid-November

The numbers: Initial jobless claims rose by 23,000 to 230,000 in the week ended Jan. 8, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.  It’s the highest level since mid-November.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had estimated new claims would slip to 200,000.

Key details: The number of people already collecting jobless benefits plunged by 194,000 to 1.56 million. This is the lowest level of so-called continuing claims since June 1973.

Big picture: Even with the gain in claims in the latest week, economists said a downward trend remains intact. With workers scarce, companies are simply not laying off their staff.

Market reaction: U.S. stocks
DJIA,
+0.11%

SPX,
+0.28%

were expected to open higher on Thursday as investors turn their focus to corporate earnings.

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