US jobless claims rise more than expected
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, according to figures from the Labor Department.
US initial jobless claims increased by 37,000 from the previous week's revised level to 230,000, versus expectations for a level of 200,000. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 to 193,000.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average came in at 206,000, up 4,500 from the previous week's average, which was revised up by 250.
The four-week average is considered more reliable as it smooths out sharp fluctuations in the more volatile weekly figures, giving a more accurate picture of the health of the labour market.
Continuing claims - i.e. the number of people already collecting unemployment benefits - came in at 1.655m from a revised 1.654m the week before, versus expectations of 1.699m. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000.
The four-week moving average came in 1.687m, down 25,000 from the previous week's level, which was revised up by 250 to 1.712m.
Pantheon Macroeconomics said: "The consensus appeared to take seriously the unexpected drop in claims over the previous five weeks to just 193K, the lowest since September 1969. But much of the decline, especially in the first couple of weeks of April, always looked like a seasonal adjustment problem. The rebound reported today for the week of Easter strongly supports that idea.
"Still, the trend in claims probably ought to be falling slowly, given that GDP growth in the first quarter is likely to be reported at about 2-1/12%, and the true rate likely was higher because the Q1 numbers tend to be depressed by a persistent seasonal adjustment problem. We think the trend probably is a bit below 220K, but it should head down towards 210K in the second quarter as consumers’ spending rebounds from the soft Q1 and, perhaps, capex picks up too."