US jobless claims rise marginally as labor market tightens

Economic Indicators Reuters

Applicants fill out forms during a job fair at the Southeast LA-Crenshaw WorkSource Center in Los Angeles November 20, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (Copyright Reuters 2017)

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength that should continue to support the economy.

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Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 236,000 for the week ended Aug. 26, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Data for the prior week was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported. Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a robust labor market, for 130 consecutive weeks. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller.

A Labor Department official said there were no special factors influencing the claims data and that no states had been estimated. But upcoming reports could be impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey, which has devastated parts of Texas.

The storm will probably leave some people temporarily unemployed and hamper the filing of claims.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 237,000 in the latest week. The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell by 1,250 to 236,750 last week, the lowest reading since May. (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)

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