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US Jobless claims rise slightly, near highest since November


Applications for US unemployment insurance rose slightly and held near the highest level since November, indicating continued easing in the labor market.

Initial unemployment claims increased by 6,000 to 260,000 in the week ended July 30, Labor Department data showed Thursday. The figure matched the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Continuing claims for state benefits climbed to 1.42 million in the week ended July 23, the highest since early April.

Jobless claims have been rising in the past few months as several companies — largely in the tech sector — announce layoffs and slow hiring amid economic uncertainty. The trend is likely to continue as the Federal Reserve strengthens its resolve to curb decades-high inflation with continued interest-rate hikes, which could lower demand for workers.

The claims data come ahead of the government’s monthly employment report, which is forecast to show the US added roughly 250,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate held near a 50-year low. Separate data earlier this week showed the number of job openings fell in June to a nine-month low, suggesting tightness in the labor market is easing somewhat amid growing economic pressures.

What Bloomberg Economics Says…

“Initial jobless claims continued to signal that conditions in the labor market are easing. They are now up 94k from a trough in mid-March — which is still far from troubling. We expect claims to continue gradually rising, consistent with layoffs in interest rate-sensitive sectors like housing and manufacturing.” Eliza Winger, economist

The jobless claims four-week moving average, a measure which smooths out some of the volatility in the series, ticked up last week. It’s risen in all but one week since early April.

On an unadjusted basis, initial claims decreased to 205,587 last week. Connecticut saw the largest increase in claims. Massachusetts, which posted an outsize increase earlier in July, saw another significant drop last week.

A separate report Thursday showed the US trade deficit shrank for a third month in June, reflecting a pickup in exports as well as a modest decline in imports.

 

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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