U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Increase After Six Straight Declines

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After reporting decreases in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits for six straight weeks, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing an unexpected uptick in initial jobless claims in the week ended June 12th.

The report said initial jobless claims rose to 412,000, an increase of 37,000 from the previous week's revised level of 375,000.

The increase surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to edge down to 359,000 from the 376,000 originally reported for the previous week.

"As Fed Chair Powell said yesterday, there may be a 'speed limit' on the labor market recovery while multiple constraints on labor supply gradually recede," said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead Economist at Oxford Economics.

She added, "We still expect the labor market recovery to gather momentum in the months ahead and anticipate a total of 8 million jobs will be created in 2021."

Jobless claims had declined in eight out of the nine previous weeks, falling to their lowest levels since March of 2020.

Reflecting the recent downward trend, the less volatile four-week moving average still dipped to a more than one-year low of 395,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week's revised average of 403,000.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, inched up by 1,000 to 3.518 million in the week ended June 5th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still fell by 55,000 to 3,603,750, the lowest level since hitting 2,071,750 in the week ended March 21, 2020.

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