Initial jobless claims jump 16,000 more than expected
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, but probably not enough to suggest the labor market recovery was taking a step back.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 357,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Still, they remained in the middle of their range for this year.
The prior week’s claims figure was revised to show 5,000 more applications than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications last week to rise to 340,000.
Last week’s report contained annual benchmark revisions to the series and the model used by the government to iron out seasonal fluctuations.
Last week’s increase pushed claims above the 350,000 level for the first time since mid-February.
The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, rose 2,250 to 343,000, but remained below the 350,000 level.
That could offer hope job growth this month retained some of the momentum from February. Nonfarm payrolls increased 236,000 last month, with the unemployment rate falling to a four-year low of 7.7 percent.