After reporting first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits at their lowest level in over a year in the previous week, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing initial jobless claims unexpectedly inched higher in the week ended July 3rd.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims crept up to 373,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 371,000.
The uptick surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to drop to 350,000 from the 364,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Meanwhile, the report said the less volatile four-week moving average edged down by 250 to 394,500, hitting the lowest level since the week ended March 14, 2020.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also slid by 145,000 to a more than one-year low of 3.339 million in the week ended June 26th.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims dropped to 3,440,750, a decrease of 44,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 3,485,250.
Last Friday, the Labor Department released a separate report showing a continued reacceleration in the pace of U.S. job growth in the month of June.
The report showed non-farm payroll employment spiked by 850,000 jobs in June after surging by an upwardly revised 583,000 jobs in May.
Economists had expected employment to jump by about 700,000 jobs compared to the addition of 559,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
Following the decrease in employment seen last December, the pace of job growth has bounced back to its highest level since last August.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the unemployment rate unexpectedly inched up to 5.9 percent in June from 5.8 percent in May. The unemployment rate was expected to edge down to 5.7 percent.
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