Continuing US Jobless Claims Rose Ahead of Estimates
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The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose more than estimated last week, suggesting that hurricane related claims processing has begun to improve.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 239,000 for the week ended 4 November, the US Labor Department said Thursday.
Claims had fallen to 229,000 in the prior week, near a 44.5-year low, and remain well below the 300,000 level generally regarded as signaling a healthy labor market.
Economists polled by Reuters forecast claims rising to 231,000 in the latest week. They have declined from an almost 3 year high of 298,000 hit at the start of September in the aftermath of hurricanes that ravaged parts of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The US Labor Department noted that it is now processing backlogged claims in Puerto Rico though its operations in the Virgin Islands remain severely disrupted.
Last week marked the 139th week running that claims remained below the 300,000 mark. That is the longest such stretch since Y 1970, when the labor market was smaller.
The 4-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out W-W volatility, fell 1,250, to 231,250 last week, the lowest level since 31 March 1973. That suggests ongoing job growth in an economy many regard as near full employment, with the jobless rate at a 17-year low of 4.1%.
The continuing claims rose 17,000 to 1.90-M. Economists polled by Reuters had expected continuing claims of 1.89-M.
The 4-week moving average of continuing claims fell 750, to 1.90-M, the lowest level since 12 January 1974, suggesting a continued decline in labor market slack.
Thursday, the major US stock market indexes finished at: DJIA -101.42 at 23461.94, NAS Comp -39.07 at 6750.06, S&P 500 -9.78 at 2584.60
Volume: Trade on the NYSE came in at:n866.3-M/shares exchanged
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