Claims for jobless benefits in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped last week to a five-year low, highlighting the challenges in adjusting the data for swings at the start of a year.
Applications for unemployment insurance payments decreased by 5,000 to 330,000 in the week ended Jan. 19, the fewest since the same week in 2008, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. Economists forecast 355,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.
“The swings are attributable to the calendar,” said Brian Jones, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, who projected a drop to 328,000. He said the numbers probably will rise at the end of the month as the calendar returns to normal. “We’re going to pay for this,” he said.