U.S. jobless claims rise;
labor market still tightening
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[August 10, 2017]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of
Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week,
but the underlying trend remained consistent with a tightening labor
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 3,000 to a
seasonally adjusted 244,000 for the week ended Aug. 5, the Labor
Department said on Thursday.
Data for the prior week was revised to show 1,000 more applications
received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would be unchanged at
240,000 in the latest week. With the labor market near full employment,
there is probably limited room for claims to continue declining. Claims
have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor
market, for 127 straight weeks. That is the longest such stretch since
1970, when the labor market was smaller. The unemployment rate is 4.3
Labor market tightness could encourage the Federal Reserve to announce a
plan to start unwinding its $4.2 trillion portfolio of Treasury bonds
and mortgage-backed securities at its policy meeting next month. A Labor
Department official said there were no special factors influencing the
claims data and that no states had been estimated.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of
labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 1,000
to 241,000 last week, the lowest level since May.
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Corporate recruiters (R) gesture and shake hands as they talk with
job seekers in Washington, June 11, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan
The government reported last week that nonfarm payrolls increased by
209,000 jobs in July. The economy has added 1.29 million jobs this year.
That has resulted in the unemployment rate dropping five-tenths of a
Thursday's claims report also showed the number of people still
receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell by16,000 to 1.95
million in the week ended July 29. The so-called continuing claims have
now been below the 2 million mark for 17straight weeks, pointing to
diminishing labor market slack.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims edged up 500 to 1.97
million, still remaining below the 2 million mark for the 15th
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)
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