Initial weekly unemployment claims increased 22,000 to 496,000. There is a lot of statistical noise in initial weekly unemployment claims and one can guarantee this number will be revised. So why is this important? We're seeing a trend at this point and it's increasing, not decreasing as the green shooters, cyclical folks believe it would.
The 4 week moving average since the start of this recession:
A logarithmic view, to smooth out data noise, for just a one year period:
This is not good. For comparison's sake, let's take initial unemployment claims from 1980 to 1983. Here you can see a well defined downward slope (decline in weekly claims), unlike the graphs above.
What does all of this mean? Well, for one, the sad $15 billion dollar Jobs Bill the Senate just passed is completely inadequate and the U.S. not only needs a direct jobs program, but a host of other policy changes to get people back to work.
Don't even think it's all weather and snow. I do not like initial unemployment claims as a metric, which is why the above graphs use logs and are looking at trends (slope). That said, we clearly have an upward trend in initial weekly unemployment claims.