More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, showing progress on reducing joblessness remains uneven amid slower growth this quarter.
Jobless Claims climbed by 18,000 to 354,000 in the week ended June 15 from a revised 336,000 the prior period, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of 46 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 340,000. No states were estimated and there was nothing unusual in the data, a Labor Department spokesman said as the figures were released.
Employers will need to limit firings before the world’s largest economy can show bigger gains in payrolls. Federal Reserve officials announced yesterday that they would maintain the central bank’s $85 billion in monthly asset purchases until the expansion shows further signs of strengthening.
“Firms have just been very cautious in their hiring and they remain so,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. Stanley projected a rise in claims to 346,000. Still, “by and large, the conditions in the labor market are pretty steady.”
Stock-index futures held earlier losses after the report. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing in September declined 0.9 percent to 1,609.6 at 8:45 a.m. in New York after the Fed said it may start paring stimulus measures later this year.
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