The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, but will probably do little to change views that the labor market was strengthening.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 311,000 for the week ended Aug. 9, the Labor Department said on Thursday, above economists’ expectations for a rise to only 295,000.
There is, however, little doubt that conditions in the jobs market are firming. Although the four-week average of claims, a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose modestly last week, it remained at levels consistent with solid job gains.
The dollar edged down against a basket of currencies after the data.
A significant decline in layoffs, which has pushed claims down to their pre-recession levels, has been the major driver of an improving job market.
But hiring is also gaining traction. A report on Tuesday showed hiring rose in June to its highest level since February 2008. The number of job openings that month was the highest since February 2001.
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