First time claims for unemployment spiked last week. As Bloomberg reports:

Jobless claims climbed by 15,000 to 297,000 in the week ended July 4, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected claims of 275,000.


The data can be volatile this time of year because of the Fourth of July holiday and seasonal auto plant shutdowns.

Which is to say: things may not be as bad as they look.  But, then, on the other hand, they may be. And if there is trend here, it indicates that things may be getting worse. This is the highest number since mid-February and closing in on 300,000 which is a sort of benchmark number.  At the very least, it is not good news and reinforces skepticism about the jobs recovery which is the foundation of the Fed’s hopes for slowly raising interest rates.

We shall see.