The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose for a third straight week last week, but that likely does not suggest a material shift in labor market conditions as data for several states, including California, were estimated.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 250,000 for the week ended Dec. 30, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 240,000 in the latest week. Claims tend to be volatile around holidays. Data for California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming were estimated.
In addition, the Labor Department said claims-taking procedures continued to be disrupted in the Virgin Islands months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria battered the islands.