Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
Global | By Doris Richards

USA weekly jobless claims up; continuing claims hit 17-year low

USA weekly jobless claims up; continuing claims hit 17-year low

Claims increased last week for the first time since the week ended March 18.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 244,000 for the week ended April 15, the Labour Department said.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also dropped by 49,000 to 1.979 million in the week ended April 8th. However, the number of new applicants for unemployment benefits has been under 300,000 for a period of 111 consecutive weeks.

Economists forecast claims would rise to 240,000.

The smoothed-out four week average is 243,000, a small decrease from prior weeks when claims averaged closer to 250,000.

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Jobless claims have remained below 300,000 for 111 consecutive weeks, the longest such streak since 1970 - when the US workforce and population were much smaller than they are today.

THE NUMBERS: Weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 244,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Data on continuing claims are released with a one-week lag. Investors has anticipated two more rate hikes this year.

United States financial markets were little moved by the data. This provides additional evidence that the March employment data was negatively influenced by poor weather during the survey week, including a major snowstorm in the Northeast.

The unemployment rate has also been on a downward trend since the beginning of 2017, dropping from 4.8 percent in January to 4.5 percent in March, Department of Labor statistics show.

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