There were 372,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up by 10,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. What's more, that previous week's total was revised up from the previous estimate of 350,000.
The relatively negative news about jobless claims means that two out of this morning's three employment-related reporters were positive. As we reported earlier, the ADP National Employment Report showed a much larger than expected gain of 215,000 jobs in private sector payrolls last month. Also, the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that the number of layoffs announced in 2012 was the lowest for any year since 1997.
Friday morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is due to release the week's big employment report. It will tell us what the unemployment rate was in December and how many jobs were added to payrolls last month.
According to Bloomberg News, economists expect to hear that there were 150,000 jobs added to public and private payrolls in December — about the same as the 146,000 added in November. They also expect to hear that the nation's unemployment rate stated at 7.7 percent.
Another employment-related report also brings at least modestly good news.
"Private sector employment increased by 215,000 jobs from November to December," according to the latest ADP National Employment Report. That's well above what economists expected to hear: a gain of about 130,000.
And ADP revised up its figure on growth in November, to a gain of 148,000 jobs — vs. its original estimate of 118,000.
The ADP report, a private survey done by that company and Moody's Analytics, is sometimes a sign of what the Bureau of Labor Statistics will say when it releases its figures on monthly job growth.
That combines with more good news about the labor market.
The number of layoffs announced by U.S. companies plunged in December, a new report signals. Also, the number of layoffs announced in 2012 was the lowest for any year since 1997.
That news from the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas is the first of three jobs-related reports due this morning. In the next hour, we're due to get the ADP National Employment Report about hiring at private companies last month and the Employment and Training Administration's latest figures on first-time claims for unemployment benefits. We'll update with highlights from those reports.
According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas:
- "After three consecutive months of increased layoff activity, the number of planned job cuts announced in December plunged to 32,556, the second lowest monthly total of 2012" and down from 57,081 in November.
- "Due in large part to the slow pace of downsizing in the third quarter, annual job cuts totaled 523,362, which is the lowest year-end total since 1997, when employers announced 434,350 job cuts during the year. The 2012 total was 14 percent lower than the 606,082 job cuts announced in 2011."
- " 'We have not seen this [lower] level of job cutting since before the dot.com collapse and subsequent 2001 recession,' said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas."