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US jobless claims rise more than expected

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Thursday 14 Nov 2019

LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, according to figures released by the Labor Department on Thursday.
US initial jobless claims rose by 14,000 from the previous to 225,000, marking the highest reading since June. Economists had expected a level of 215,000.

Meanwhile, the four-week moving average came in at 217,000, up 1,750 from the previous week.

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 - fell to 1.683m from 1.693m, versus expectations for a level of 1.687m. The previous week's level was revised up by 4,000.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the spike in claims might be due to seasonal problems due to the Veterans Day holiday, but could also be due to the California wildfires.

"Either way, we doubt it marks the start of a sustained upshift in claims; the recent trend has been resolutely flat," he said.