Initial claims for U.S. unemployment insurance came in slightly higher than anticipated in the week ended August 11th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday, although claims appear to have stabilized following recent volatility.
The report showed that initial jobless claims crept up to 366,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 364,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to climb to 365,000 from the 361,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Peter Boockvar, managing director at Miller Tabak, said, "The Labor Department said the last two weeks have been free of the summer auto shutdown issues, which is encouraging in that at 366,000, its 16,000 below the one-year average and is now trending at the lowest levels since March."
The Labor Department also said the less volatile four-week moving average edged down to 363,750 from the previous week's revised average of 369,250. With the drop, the four-week moving average hit its lowest level since the week ended March 31st.
Additionally, the report showed that continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, fell to 3.305 million in the week ended August 4th from the preceding week's revised level of 3.336 million.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims edged down to 3.303 million from the preceding week's revised average of 3.306 million.
"Bottom line, from an employer standpoint many seem to be in a wait and see mode, reducing the level of firing's but uncertain still in the pace of hiring's," Boockvar said.
Earlier this month, the Labor Department released a separate report showing stronger than expected job growth in the month of July, although the report also showed an unexpected uptick by the unemployment rate.
The report said non-farm payroll employment increased by 163,000 jobs in July following a downwardly revised increase of 64,000 jobs in June.
Economists had expected employment to increase by about 100,000 jobs compared to the addition of 80,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
Despite the job growth for the month, the unemployment rate edged up to 8.3 percent in July from 8.2 percent in June. The increase surprised economists, who had expected the unemployment rate to come in unchanged.
by RTT Staff Writer
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