As should be expected, the recent rash of future layoffs in manufacturing had no effect on last week's initial claims for unemployment insurance. Those announced layoffs won't begin to show up for a few weeks at the earliest.
For the week ending Jan. 28, the seasonally adjusted figure for first-time jobless claims was 273,000, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 284,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Feb. 2.
The department's four-week moving average for initial claims also fell, dropping by 4,750 to 284,250. The four-week moving average is considered a better indicator of underlying labor market conditions since it smooths out week-to-week changes in claims filings.