|08-15-2014, 01:10 AM||#1|
Jobless claims at 6-week high
The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits rose 21,000 to 311,000 in the week the ended Aug. 9, hitting the highest weekly tally since the end of June, the U.S. Labor Department reported. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected initial claims for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits to rise to 300,000 in the most recent weekly data from an originally reported 289,000 for the prior period. On Thursday, the government tweaked initial claims for the week that ended Aug. 2 to 290,000.
With jobless claims for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits at extremely low levels, that signals that employers are holding onto their workers, a good sign for the labor market.
Low numbers of layoffs echo other recent jobs data showing a strengthening U.S. employment environment . For example, earlier this week the government reported that job openings recently hit the highest level since 2001 and that workers are facing less competition for spots. Separate jobs data showed that this summer has been the strongest for youth employment in six years.
A sturdier labor market is key to growing the economy, supporting confidence among consumers and businesses. However, there’s concern that too many of the economy’s new jobs are relatively low paying, and aren’t doing enough to support consumer spending, which is the backbone of the economy. Data released earlier this week showed that retail sales, a major chunk of consumer spending, recently posted its weakest monthly growth in half a year.
Data details released Thursday show that the four-week average of new claims, a trend that’s less volatile than weekly changes, rose 2,000 to 295,750. Continuing claims, which show the number of people already receiving benefits, rose 25,000 to 2.54 million in the week that ended Aug. 2. The four-week average for continuing claims increased 9,000 to 2.53 million.
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