U.S. Jobless Claims Climb Slightly More Than Expected To 242,000

A day ahead of the release of the more closely watched monthly jobs report, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by slightly more than expected in the week ended April 29th.

The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 242,000, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 229,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 240,000 from the 230,000 originally reported for the previous week.

“The latest jobless claims data are consistent with labor market conditions that may be loosening around the edges but aren’t deteriorating rapidly,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead US Economist at Oxford Economics.

“The data have no impact on our outlook for the Fed following yesterday’s rate hike,” she added. “The FOMC is likely to pause at its June meeting but won’t rule out further rate hikes if data on inflation and the labor market don’t show clear signs of further cooling.”

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also crept up to 239,250, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 235,750.

Meanwhile, the report said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, fell by 38,000 to 1.805 million in the week ended April 22nd.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also edged down to 1,828,250, a decrease of 4,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,832,750.

On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its highly anticipated report on employment in the month of April.

Economists currently expect the report to show employment increased by 179,000 jobs in April after jumping by 236,000 jobs in March, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.5 percent.

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