Seasonal Spike in Jobless Claims

Americans seeking unemployment aid rose sharply in the past week.  According to the Associated Press,  38,000 Americans filed for unemployment, making the seasonally adjusted total 368,000.  In addition, the number of applications fell by 45,000, reaching a five-year low.  Reasons for the increased amount of unemployment is the termination of seasonal retail work.  As such, it hasn't caused much alarm among economists, who are projecting that January's job report will show that 155,000 more jobs were added and that the employment rate will remain constant at 7.8%.

The article suggests that steady hiring will counter the contraction of the national economy that has been caused by decreased military spending and fewer exports.  Positive signals for the economy include increases in consumer spending (which accounts for 70% of activity), business investments in equipment and software, and rising housing prices.

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