U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Inch Slightly Higher
A day ahead of the release of the more closely watched monthly jobs report, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing initial jobless claims inched slightly higher in the week ended September 30th.
The report said initial jobless claims crept up to 207,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 205,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 210,000 from the 204,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Jobless claims have edged slightly higher over the past two weeks after falling to a seven-month low of 202,000 in the week ended September 16th.
“Initial jobless claims edged up last week but remain close to 200,000, signaling that there are still very few layoffs,” said Michael Pearce, Lead US Economist at Oxford Economics.
He added, “We expect some increase in claims over the coming months as job growth slows further but, for now, labor market conditions are still easing without a significant rise in unemployment.”
Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average slipped to 208,750, a decrease of 2,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 211,250.
The four-week moving average once again dipped to its lowest level since hitting 207,250 in the week ended February 11th.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also edged down by 1,000 to 1.664 million in the week ended September 23rd.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims also fell to 1,667,500, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,672,500.
On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched report on employment in the month of September.
Economists expect employment to increase by 170,000 jobs in September after climbing by 187,000 jobs in August, while the unemployment rate is expected to edge down to 3.7 percent from 3.8 percent.
“We think the September employment report would be too hot for Fed officials to conclude that they have delivered enough tightening, keeping the prospect of an additional rate hike later this year alive,” said Pearce.
He continued, “We still expect officials to remain on the sidelines, but that is conditional on our forecast of a sharper downturn in the economy and labor market over the closing months of the year.”
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