U.S. Jobless Claims Rise, But Hover Near Recent Lows -- Update

05/17/18 11:49 AM EDT
By Paul Kiernan 

WASHINGTON -- The number of U.S. workers filing applications for jobless benefits went up more than expected last week but remained at historically low levels amid signs that economic growth remains firm.

Initial jobless claims, an indication of layoffs, increased by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000 in the week ended May 12, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was more than the 215,000 claims forecast in a survey of economists by The Wall Street Journal.

Economists chalked up the rise to normal volatility and noted that more stable measures of jobless claims continued to show a downward path.

"This disappointment came after very favorable readings in each of the prior three reported weeks," JPMorgan Chase economist Daniel Silver said in a note to clients. "The trend in the data still looks upbeat and points to improvement in the labor market between the reference weeks for the April and May payroll reports."

The four-week moving average of claims fell last week to its lowest level since 1969 The number of continuing unemployment benefit claims -- those drawn by workers for more than a week -- declined in the week ended May 5 to their lowest level since 1973. Continuing unemployment benefits are reported with a one-week lag.

Declining jobless claims jibe with recent survey-based data showing that the unemployment rate fell in April to its lowest level, 3.9%, since late 2000.

"The signal being flashed by claims is that further declines are likely in the jobless rate," said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc., in a note to clients.

Write to Paul Kiernan at paul.kiernan@wsj.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 17, 2018 11:49 ET (15:49 GMT)

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