U.S. jobless-benefit claims inched up last week, while still hovering near levels that reflect a strong labor market, Labor Department data showed Thursday.
Highlights of Jobless Claims (Week Ended May 20)
• Initial benefit filings increased by 1k to 234k (forecast was 238k)
• Continuing claims rose by 24k to 1.923 mln in week ended May 13 (data reported with one-week lag)
• Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, decreased to 235,250 from 241,000 in the prior week.
Even with the uptick in jobless claims, the average over the past month is at its lowest level since 1973. Despite lackluster economic growth in the first three months of the year, employers remain optimistic and are choosing to retain rather than fire staff. That indicates the labor market remains solid and will contribute to economic growth that’s widely expected to accelerate in the second quarter.
• Previous week’s initial claims revised to 233,000 from 232,000
• Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits unchanged at 1.4 percent
• Louisiana and North Dakota had estimated claims last week
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