U.S. Jobless Claims Ticked Up To 271,000

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The FINANCIAL — The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits ticked up last week but remained at a historically low level, according to Nasdaq.

Initial claims for jobless benefits, a measure of layoffs across the U.S. economy, increased by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 271,000 in the week ended June 20, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal has expected 273,000 new claims.

The number of new claims the prior week was revised up slightly to 268,000.

Jobless claims can be volatile from week to week. The four-week moving average, which smoothes out short-term swings in the data, fell by 3,250 last week to 273,750.

Initial claims have held below the psychological threshold of 300,000 for 16 straight weeks, the longest streak since 2000 and a sign that the labor market remains on steady footing six years after the end of the last recession.

Nonfarm employers added 3.1 million jobs in 2014, the strongest year of job creation since 1999, according to Labor Department data. Hiring slowed in early 2015 but rebounded in April and May. The unemployment rate last month was 5.5%, down from 6.3% a year earlier and 10% in October 2009.

“The labor market data so far this year have shown further progress toward our objective of maximum employment, although at a slower pace than late last year,” Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said last week.

The Fed has kept its benchmark short-term interest rate pinned near zero since December 2008 to support the economy through the financial crisis, recession and sluggish recovery. Most policy makers at the U.S. central bank expect to begin raising rates later this year.

Thursday’s report said the number of continuing claims for unemployment benefits rose by 22,000 to 2,247,000 in the week ended June 13. Those data are reported with a one-week lag.

The Labor Department said no special factors affected the latest claims data.


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