U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Inch Up Slightly Less Than Expected


With the more closely watched monthly jobs report looming, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing a slight increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended May 27th.

The report said initial jobless claims crept up to 232,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 230,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 235,000 from the 229,000 originally reported for the previous week.

“After climbing through much of Q1, initial claims have mostly moved sideways since, a reminder that labor market conditions are still tight,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

She added, “While we expect the Fed to leave rates steady at its upcoming meeting, a more sustained loosening of labor market conditions is needed to keep rate hikes permanently off the table.”

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average edged down to 229,500, a decrease of 2,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 232,000.

The report also showed continuing claims, a reading on number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, rose by 6,000 to 1.795 million in the week ended May 20th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still fell to 1,797,500, a decrease of 1,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,799,000.

On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched report on employment in the month of May.

Economists currently expect employment to increase by 190,000 jobs in May after jumping by 253,000 jobs in April, while the unemployment rate is expected to inch up to 3.5 percent from 3.4 percent.

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