The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, while renewed job cuts in the energy sector boosted layoffs announced by U.S.-based employers in July.
Despite the increases, the labor market remains healthy and will probably continue to support economic growth for the remainder of this year.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 269,000 for the week ended July 30, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists had forecast initial claims slipping to 265,000 in the latest week.
“This level of unemployment claims points to continued very subdued layoff rates at the start of the third quarter,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.
Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a strong labor market, for 74 consecutive weeks, the longest streak since 1973. With the labor market perceived to be either at or approaching full employment, there is probably limited scope for further declines in claims.