U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Inch Up In Line With Estimates

A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed a modest increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended July 29th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims crept up to 227,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 221,000. The uptick in jobless claims matched economist estimates.

Meanwhile, the report said the less volatile four-week moving average edged down to 228,250, a decrease of 5,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 233,750.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, rose by 21,000 to 1.700 million in the week ended July 22nd.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still slipped to 1,712,250, a decrease of 4,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,716,750.

“Despite increases in the latest weeks, both initial and continued jobless claims continue to trend lower,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics. “The jobless claims data are consistent with labor market conditions that are probably still too tight for the Fed.”

She added, “We think last week’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 if evidence of softer labor market conditions doesn’t materialize by the September meeting.”

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

Economists currently employment to increase by 200,000 jobs in July after climbing by 209,000 jobs in June, while the unemployment rate is expected to remain at 3.6 percent.

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