The latest weekly jobless claims figures are out.

Initial claims filed in the week ended January 4 were 330,000, below expectations for a drop to 335,000 from the previous week’s upwardly-revised 345,000 figure.

Continuing claims filed in the week ended December 28 rose more than expected to 2.87 million from a downward-revised 2.82 million the week before.

“The hiring side of the labour market equation seems to have improved markedly even as the pace of layoffs has been more or less static,” says Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “We would prefer to see layoffs falling too, and in due course they will, but for now we’ll take better payroll numbers no matter how they are constituted.”

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