MW: Jobless claims jump to one-month high of 257,000
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) â€” The number Americans who recently lost their jobs and sought unemployment benefits rose last week to a one-month high, though the increase appeared largely concentrated in New York state.
Initial jobless claims jumped by 14,000 to 257,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Economists polled by MarketWatch has expected new claims to total a seasonally adjusted 245,000 in the seven days stretching from April 16 to April 22.
New claims in New York spiked by more than 600,000 on a raw basis, an increase that is almost certain to be reversed soon.
Still, layoffs nationwide remain extremely low. Applications for unemployment benefits have registered less than 300,000 for 112 straight weeks, the longest run since the early 1970s.
The economy had added at least 2 million new jobs a new since 2011 to knock the unemployment rate down to a post-recession low of 4.5%.
The pace of hiring moderated in March, but the U.S. is still adding an average of nearly 200,000 new jobs a month. Next week economists expect a rebound in job creation after a small 98,000 gain last month that was likely a residue of seasonal swings that often occur as winter turns into spring.
The more stable monthly average of jobless claims was little changed at 242,250.
Continuing jobless claims, meanwhile, increased by 10,000 to 1.99 million. These claims reflect how many people are already receiving unemployment checks.
The last time continuing claims were below 2 million for two straight weeks was in May 2000 â€” at the end of a long boom in the Clinton era fueled by the rise of the Internet.