Despite a fairly dramatic recent decline in weekly unemployment claims, the notion of a significantly improving job market is drawing few converts.
The Labor Department dropped another surprise Thursday on Wall Street with news that the total of new jobless claims fell by 5,000 to 330,000, a release that came against expectations that last week's tumble to 335,000 was a statistical blip.
Not only was this week's total well below economist estimates of 360,000, but there also was no revision from the previous number. The government routinely fiddles with its data as more information flows in. (Read More: Weekly Jobless Claims Keep Up Steady Move Lower)
Still, the Street remained tepid at best and disbelievers at worst.
"We are cautious not to read too much into the recent sharp drop in claims as the data have in the past been distorted around the beginning of the year," said Joe LaVorgna, chief US economist at Deutsche Bank. "However, the fact that the four-week moving average has been steadily declining over the past three weeks could be a signal that the labor market is poised to up shift."
"This is mostly noise not a signal. The move last week and this week are biased on the low side due to seasonal factors," Stephen Staley, chief economist at Pierpoint Securities, said in a more pointed analysis. "They will likely pop back up."