INITIAL CLAIMS DROP FASTER THAN EXPECTED

Weekly jobless claims figures are out.

Initial claims fell to 331,000 in the week ended February 1 from an upward-revised 351,000 the week before, below consensus expectations for a smaller drop to 335,000.

Continuing claims rose to 2.964 million in the week ended January 25 from a downward-revised 2.949 million in the previous week.

Claims figures have been distorted over the past several weeks due to seasonal factors.

“As the holidays fade into the rear view mirror, we should start getting ‘clean’ claims data again,” says RBS economist Guy Berger.

Berger says last week’s claims release was what he typically views as the “end-point of the volatility-inducing holiday season,” but notes that we do have Presidents’ Day coming up in a few weeks.

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