US Jobless Claims Drop Give Boost To Employment Recovery

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, indicating the labor market was strengthening despite a run-up in applications in prior weeks.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 319,000 for the week ended May 3, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The decline snapped three straight weeks of increases.

Claims for the week ended April 26 were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits falling to 325,000 last week.

Claims are volatile around this time of the year as the timing of Easter and school spring breaks can throw off the model that the government uses to smooth the data for seasonal fluctuations.

The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 4,500 to 324,750.

Despite the increase, the four-week average remains at levels consistent with an improving labor market.

A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing the state level data.

via Reuters

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza