The number of people filing for first time unemployment benefits rose sharply in the week ending July 19th, according to the US Department of Labor. Claims jumped 34,000, to 406,000, way above expectations. Economists were expecting 380,000 new claims for the week. Today’s reading is the highest reading since late March.

Having witnessed extremely volatile measurements in the past few weeks, it is wise to consider the four-week moving average of initial claims, which smooths out one-time factors such as bad weather or holidays. The four-week moving average was also higher, by 4,500 in the latest week, down to 382,500.

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