U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Dip To Five-Month Low

The Labor Department released a report on Thursday unexpectedly showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended July 22nd.

The report said initial jobless claims slipped to 221,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 228,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 235,000.

With the unexpected decrease, jobless claims fell to their lowest level since hitting a matching figure in the week ended February 25th.

“The claims data are consistent with labor market conditions that are still too tight for the Fed, keeping additional rate hikes on the table,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

She added, “We think yesterday’s increase in the federal funds rate will be the last of the cycle, but the risks are still tilted in favor of one more rate hike.”

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also edged down to 233,750, a decrease of 3,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 237,500.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also slid by 59,000 to 1.690 million in the week ended July 15th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also fell to 1,719,500, a decrease of 10,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,730,250.

Next Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched monthly employment report for July.

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