US jobless claims unexpectedly rise last week

WASHINGTON, May 20 (BestGrowthStock) – The number of U.S. workers
filing new applications for unemployment insurance unexpectedly
rose last week for the first time since early April, government
data showed on Thursday, dealing a blow to the labor market
recovery.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased
25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 471,000 in the week ended May
15, the highest level since the week ended April 10, the Labor
Department said.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected claims to fall to
440,000 from the previously reported 444,000, which was revised
marginally up to 446,000 in Thursday’s report.

The four-week moving average of new claims, which is
considered a better measure of underlying labor market trends,
rose 3,000 to 453,500.

A Labor Department official said there was nothing unusual
in the state level data. The claims data fell in the survey
week for the government’s closely watched employment report for
May. That report will be released on June 4.

New applications for unemployment benefits had been
grinding lower even though payrolls have now grown for four
straight months. Analysts believe the elevated level of initial
claims indicates the unemployment rate will remain high for a
while and only come down gradually as small businesses are
still struggling.

The jobless rate edged up to 9.9 percent in April from 9.7
percent in March.

The number of people still receiving benefits after an
initial week of aid fell 40,000 to 4.63 million in the week
ended May 8, the Labor Department said. The level was above
market expectations for 4.60 million, but was the lowest since
late March.

The insured unemployment rate, which measures the
percentage of the insured labor force that is jobless, was
unchanged at 3.6 percent in the week ended May 8. It was the
fifth straight week that the rate was unchanged at that level.
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(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

US jobless claims unexpectedly rise last week