Snow Gives Jobless Claims A Boost

The reason jobless claims were so low last week? Blame the snow, experts say.

When snowstorms last week kept workers at home, new claims couldn’t be processed and the newly laid-off were skipping the trips to the unemployment office. This week, despite the snow that pummeled some of the mid-Atlantic yesterday, those claims have been re-added to the queue for a total of 454,000 newly unemployed, an increase of 51,000 from the previous week.

“I’ll buy that it can be blamed on the weather. But it does show that the recovery is growing in fits and starts,” Peter Tuz, president at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia, told Reuters.

The number of people receiving any kind of unemployment insurance the week of January 8, the most recent week these figures were available, fell 223,826 to 9.4 million. That includes 3.7 million people who had been unemployed long enough to exhaust their state’s regular benefits (around 27 weeks but varies by state).