U.S. Jobless Claims Rose Last Week

By Sarah Chaney and Josh Mitchell Features Dow Jones Newswires

WASHINGTON-The number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits rose last week, though broader trends remain consistent with steady job gains.

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Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 244,000 in the week ended July 22, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast 240,000 new claims.

Estimates of jobless claims can be volatile from week to week, but generally have hovered near four-decade lows in recent months, suggesting that employers are holding on to workers.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, which evens out weekly volatility, remained flat last week at 244,000.

The number of claims drawn by workers for longer than a week--so-called continuing claims--fell 13,000 to 1.964 million in the week ended July 15. Data on continuing claims are released with a one-week lag.

The persistently low level of layoffs is one sign the labor market is tightening and may be at or near the level that economists consider maximum employment. Employers added a seasonally adjusted 222,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.4% as more people joined the labor force.

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The Labor Department's latest report on jobless claims can be accessed at: https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf

Write to Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com and Josh Mitchell at joshua.mitchell@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 27, 2017 08:45 ET (12:45 GMT)