U.S. filings for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose to a three-month high last week during a holiday period when claims tend to be volatile, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.
HIGHLIGHTS OF JOBLESS CLAIMS (WEEK ENDED JAN. 6)
Even with the latest increase, claims remain low by historical standards, with levels below 300,000 seen as indicating a healthy labor market as companies remain reluctant to fire workers. Last week included the New Year’s Day holiday and followed the week containing Christmas, which tend to generate fluctuations in filings due to seasonal positions and difficulties adjusting for them.
At the same time, further increases in jobless claims could suggest that labor-market progress is hitting bumps. A report last week showed that U.S. employers added fewer jobs in December than economists had penciled in, amid a drop in retail positions.
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