U.S. Jobless Claims Inched Up Last Week

By David Harrison and Sarah ChaneyFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week rose slightly but remained at historically low levels, a sign of continued strength in the U.S. economy.

Initial jobless claims, a measure of layoffs across the U.S., rose by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 244,000 in the week ended Aug. 5, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected 240,000 new claims.

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The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out volatility, fell by 1,000 to 241,000.

The number of new claims filed has been hovering at four-decade lows recently, an indication of the strength of the labor market.

Employers have added 184,000 jobs per month so far this year and pushed down the unemployment rate to a historically low 4.3%.

Continued strength in the labor market could make the Fed more likely to follow through on its plans to raise its benchmark interest rates once more this year and three times next year.

Thursday's report also showed the number of Americans that have received benefits for more than a week - so-called continuing claims - declined 16,000 to 1.95 million in the week ended July 29. Continuing claims are reported with a one-week lag.

The Labor Department report on jobless claims can be accessed at: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/current.htm.

Write to David Harrison at david.harrison@wsj.com and Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 10, 2017 08:45 ET (12:45 GMT)