The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose last week, but the level remains consistent with a laboor market that is steadily adding jobs.
Economists’ estimates in the Bloomberg survey for weekly jobless claims ranged from 260,000 to 283,000. This was up 3,000 from the previous week’s figure of 264,000.
“These readings suggest no significant change in the continuing low level of layoff activity”, said John Hoff, an economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland. This is the lowest level in more than a month.
The 4-week moving average for initial claims, a figure that flattens out week-to-week fluctuations in the data, came in at 271,750.
No special factors affected this week’s initial claims.
Claims have been below 300,000 for more than six months, the longest such streak in more than four decades. “The labor market is definitely improving”. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.7 percent.
The Fed and global financial markets have been unnerved by signs that China’s economy, the world’s second-largest, is stumbling after years of double-digit growth.
“We view the steady trend in continuing unemployment claims and historically low level of overall jobless claims as indicative of solid labour market separations through mid-September”, said Barclays analyst Rob Martin. These data are reported with a one-week lag.