Menu
Share
Share this story
Close X
 
Switch to Desktop Site

US jobless claims jump to a four-month high (+video)

Jobless claims by US workers increased to the highest level since early September, but the underlying trend continued to point to a strengthening labor market. The Labor Department said jobless claims rose by 19,000 to 316,000 for the week ending Jan. 10.

View video

Job seekers attend a job fair in Miami Lakes, Fla. Jobless claims filed by US workers jumped to a four-month high last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, Jan. 15, 2014.

Alan Diaz/AP/File

View photo

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week increased to the highest level since early September, but the underlying trend continued to point to a strengthening labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 316,000 for the week ended Jan. 10, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

About these ads

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 291,000 last week. The prior week's data was revised to show 3,000 more claims received than previously reported.

Recommended:Taxes in 2015: 7 changes and 9 weird deductions

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose by only 6,750 to 298,000 last week.

It has remained below 300,000, which is associated with a firming labor market, for 18 weeks. Last week's unexpected increase in claims likely does not indicate a material shift in the jobs picture.

Employment gains have exceeded 200,000 in each of the last 11 months, the longest stretch since 1994.

Nearly 3 million new jobs were created last year, the strongest annual increase since 1999.

The strengthening labor market suggests the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year, having kept its short-term lending rate near zero since December 2008. But wages, which have yet to catch up to faster growth, will likely determine the timing of the first rate hike in nearly a decade.

The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell by 51,000 to 2.42 million in the week ended Jan. 3. 


Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.