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Weekly Jobless Claims Jump to Three Month High

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J.D. DURKIN: Weekly jobless claims. It was one of the data points we were following. And it's higher than expectation, right? The expected claims were 225,000. This is for the week that ended on November 19. That number is actually closer to 240. It is 240, excuse me. And we also had an upward, a slight upward revision from the previous week's numbers. You know, given the stated goals of the Fed, is that actually a good thing? I know that sounds scary. That may sound strange to people to say maybe an intentional uptick in unemployment is in part what we need to kind of cool things down a little bit. But what do you make of this data and can it be interpreted as at least heading in the right direction?

MARTIN BACCARDAX: It's probably too early to say. These numbers can be quite volatile on a week-to-week basis. The four-week moving average is something that's probably better to look at when we see the changes in applications for unemployment benefits. And that has remained relatively steady, although moving in an upward trend. The real, the most important number, of course, will come next week when we get November job numbers from the Commerce Department and the broader employment report. 

But, yes, you're right in the sense that it is a dismal science. It's economics in the sense that you do need to have a cooling in the job market in order to ensure that inflation remains, at least on the trajectory that it is, and that's hopefully downward. That, of course, has a human cost in the short term, but hopefully a human benefit in the longer term because of course, the implications of inflation that remains unchecked are significant and indeed even more dismal than the fact that we sometimes look at jobless claims increases as good news. It's never a delightful thing to report, but in the broader macro condition, sometimes the truth is it actually is.

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