U.S. Jobless Claims Rose Last Week

By Sharon Nunn and Sarah Chaney Features Dow Jones Newswires

WASHINGTON-The number of Americans filing applications for new unemployment benefits rose last week.

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Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., increased 10,0000 to a seasonally adjusted 239,000 in the week ended Nov. 4, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected 230,000 new claims last week.

In previous weeks, Puerto Rico began processing a backlog of applications the U.S. territory built up in the aftermath of recent hurricanes. Power outages and infrastructure damage in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands caused many applying for unemployment benefits to submit paper applications, causing what usually would have been a spike in claims to slow to a trickle, a Labor Department economist said.

Though the ability to process claims has improved in Puerto Rico, the claims-taking procedure remains disrupted in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Nationally, jobless claims are trending near a 44-year low, showing the overall health of the labor market. Claims numbers have remained below 300,000 a week for more than two and a half years.

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Jobless claims data can be volatile. The four-week moving average, a steadier measure, dropped 1,250 to 231,250 last week, the lowest level since the beginning of 1973.

The number of claims workers made for longer than a week rose 17,000 to 1,901,000 in the week ended Oct. 28, which is reported along with last week's data because continuing claims are released with a one-week lag.

The unemployment rate dropped to 4.1% in October, the lowest reading since 2000, though the low rate reflects that fewer Americans were working or seeking work during the month. The labor-force participation rate edged down to 62.7% from 63.1% in September.

Write to Sharon Nunn at sharon.nunn@wsj.com and Sarah Chaney at Sarah.Chaney@WSJ.com

WASHINGTON-The number of Americans filing applications for new unemployment benefits rose last week.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 239,000 in the week ended Nov. 4, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected 230,000 new claims last week.

In previous weeks, Puerto Rico began processing a backlog of applications the U.S. territory built up in the aftermath of recent hurricanes. Power outages and infrastructure damage in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands caused many applying for unemployment benefits to submit paper applications, causing what usually would have been a spike in claims to slow to a trickle, a Labor Department economist said.

Though the ability to process claims has improved in Puerto Rico, the claims-taking procedure remains disrupted in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Nationally, jobless claims are trending near a 44-year low, showing the overall health of the labor market. Claims numbers have remained below 300,000 a week for more than two and a half years.

Jobless claims data can be volatile. The four-week moving average, a steadier measure, dropped 1,250 to 231,250 last week, the lowest level since the beginning of 1973.

The number of claims workers made for longer than a week rose 17,000 to 1,901,000 in the week ended Oct. 28, which is reported along with last week's data because continuing claims are released with a one-week lag.

The unemployment rate dropped to 4.1% in October, the lowest reading since 2000, though the low rate reflects that fewer Americans were working or seeking work during the month. The labor-force participation rate edged down to 62.7% from 63.1% in September.

Write to Sharon Nunn at sharon.nunn@wsj.com and Sarah Chaney at Sarah.Chaney@WSJ.com

Corrections & Amplifications

This article was corrected November 10, 2017 at 9:47 a.m. ET because an earlier version incorrectly said claims increased 10,0000 in the second paragraph.

Initial jobless claims in the U.S. increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 239,000 in the week ended Nov. 4, the Labor Department said Thursday. "U.S. Jobless Claims Rose Last Week," at 8:45 a.m. EST Nov. 9, incorrectly said claims increased 10,0000 in the second paragraph.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 10, 2017 10:01 ET (15:01 GMT)