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Financial News: U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Rise To 224,000

U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Rise To 224,000

02/01/2024 - 09:34:00 (RTTNews)

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

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose to 224,000, an increase of 9,000 from the previous week's revised level of 215,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 212,000 from the 214,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Jobless claims continued to rebound after falling to their lowest levels since September 2022 in the week ended January 13th.

"The 9,000 rise in jobless claims last week bucked our expectation of a small decline, but cutting through the recent seasonal noise, claims have been steady at low levels over the past five months, signaling that there are still very few layoffs," said Michael Pearce, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

"The seasonal volatility in claims is mostly behind us," he added. "We may see a modest rise in claims as labor market conditions ease further. However, we don't expect a sharp rise in claims as we look for job growth to slow but remain positive."

The report said the less volatile four-week moving average also crept up to 207,750, an increase of 5,250 from the previous week's revised average of 202,500.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also climbed by 70,000 to 1.898 million in the week ended January 20th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also rose to 1,841,250, an increase of 7,500 from the previous week's revised average of 1,833,750.

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

Economists currently expect employment to increase by 180,000 jobs in January after jumping by 216,000 jobs in December, while the unemployment rate is expected to inch up to 3.8 percent from 3.7 percent.

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