Economy

US Weekly Jobless Claims Climb More Than Expected

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

"Regardless of shifts in labour demand, the low level of claims is boosting consumers' confidence, by reducing the fear of job loss".

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected 230,000 new claims last week. They have declined from an nearly three-year high of 298,000 hit at the start of September in the aftermath of hurricanes that ravaged parts of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The Labor Department said that claims taking procedures remain severely disrupted in the Virgin Islands, but the application process has improved in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller.

Meanwhile, the four week moving average fell by 1,250 from the previous week's unrevised average to 231,250, marking the lowest level for this average since March 1973, when it was 227,750. That suggests ongoing job growth in an economy many regard as near full employment.

The number of claims workers made for longer than a week rose 17,000 to 1,901,000 in the week ended October 28, which is reported along with last week's data because continuing claims are released with a one-week lag. Economists polled by Reuters had expected continuing claims of 1.89 million.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still edged down to a more than forty-year low of 1,895,250, a decrease of 750 from the previous week's revised average of 1,896,000.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending October 21 were in Puerto Rico (2.8), Alaska (2.7), the Virgin Islands (2.2), New Jersey (2.1), California (1.8), CT (1.8), Pennsylvania (1.6), the District of Columbia (1.5), IL (1.5), MA (1.5), and Nevada (1.5).



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