Initial jobless claims rose 3,000 in the December 30 week to 250,000 which is higher than Econoday's consensus but still consistent with strength in the labor market and points to strength for December's payroll data and unemployment rate. The 4-week average is up 3,500 to 241,750 but is very little changed from the month-ago comparison which, again, is a positive signal for tomorrow's employment report.
Continuing claims are also positive, falling 37,000 in lagging data for the December 23 week to 1.914 million with this 4-week average up fractionally to 1.923 million which, like that for initial claims, is little changed from the month-ago comparison. The unemployment rate for insured workers is unchanged at a very low 1.4 percent.
Initial claims from Puerto Rico remain elevated, at 4,074 in the latest week which is about double than normal.