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 overall numbers remain consistent with steady job gains.

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Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., rose 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 236,000 in the week ended Aug. 26, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast 236,000 new claims.

Economists expect filings to spike in future weeks as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

Initial claims have hovered in a historically low range for several years. They have remained below 300,000 for 130 consecutive weeks, the longest such streak since 1970. As a share of the workforce, the layoff proxy is trending at the lowest level on records back to the 1960s.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, which evens out weekly volatility, decreased 1,250 last week to 236,750.

The number of claims drawn by workers for longer than a week--so-called continuing claims--fell 12,000 to 1.942 million in the week ended Aug. 19. Data on continuing claims are released with a one-week lag.

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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. The Labor Department releases the August employment report Friday, and economists expect that the economy added 179,000 jobs in August and that the unemployment rate remained at 4.3%.

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

August 31, 2017 08:45 ET (12:45 GMT)