U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Show Modest Increase

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A day ahead of the release of the more closely watched monthly jobs report, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing a modest increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended July 30th.

The report showed initial jobless claims crept up to 260,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised level of 254,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 259,000 from the 256,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also edged up to 254,750, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised average of 248,750.

With the uptick, the four-week moving average reached its highest level since hitting 257,000 in the week ended November 27, 2021.

"We think the risk is that claims continue to drift higher as labor market conditions slowly cool, but we don't anticipate a sharp rise from current levels any time soon as demand for workers continues to outstrip supply," said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also rose by 48,000 to 1.416 million in the week ended July 23rd.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also ticked up to 1,375,250, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week's revised average of 1,364,250.

"The bias for continued claims is also likely to be to the upside as initial claims creep higher," said Vanden Houten. "But we don't expect a surge in continued claims given still tight labor market conditions and our outlook for more workers to return to the labor force."

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

The report is currently expected to show employment increased by 250,000 jobs in July after jumping by 372,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.6 percent.

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