There’s still plenty of people seeking jobs even with the U.S. unemployment rate at a 50-year low. The numbers: The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in early December soared to highest level in more than two years, but the spike was likely tied to a later than usual Thanksgiving holiday instead of rising layoffs. Initial jobless claims jumped 49,000 to a seasonally adjusted 252,000 in the first week of December., the government said Thursday. That’s the highest level since September 2017.
Economists polled by MarketWatch estimated new claims would total 220,000 in the seven days ended Dec. 7. Read: Fed signals no change in interest rates in 2020 in more upbeat view of the economy What happened: Raw or unadjusted jobless claims show unusually large increases in a number of states, including California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Minnesota. Jobless claims often gyrate during the long holiday season that starts after Thanksgiving. Laid-off workers wait longer to file claims, unemployment offices are closed more often and companies add and drop temporary workers. Poor weather can also skew the numbers. The Thanksgiving holiday, which falls in different weeks each year, appears to have thrown off the government’s process of adjusting jobless claims for seaso
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