U.S. Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Edge Higher For Second Straight Week

The Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing an unexpected uptick in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended October 28th.

The report said initial jobless claims crept up to 217,000, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 212,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to come in unchanged compared to the 210,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Initial jobless claims edged higher for the second consecutive week after falling to a nearly nine-month low of 200,000 in the week ended October 14th.

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also inched up to 210,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 208,000.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also rose by 35,000 to 1.818 million in the week ended October 21st.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also climbed to 1,758,250, an increase of 36,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,721,750.

“The upturn in continued claims suggests that, while the labor market may be characterized by few job losses, unemployed individuals are finding it more difficult to find new jobs, which would be consistent with a slower pace of hiring,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched report on employment in the month of October.

Economists currently expected employment to increase by 180,000 jobs in October after surging by 336,000 jobs in September. The unemployment rate is expected to remain at 3.8 percent.

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