U.S. Jobless Claims Rise Slightly More Than Expected To 248,000

A day ahead of the release of the more closely watched monthly jobs report, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing a modest increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended July 1st.

The report said initial jobless claims rose to 248,000, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 236,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to climb to 245,000 from the 239,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average edged down to 253,250, a decrease of 3,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 256,750.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also fell by 13,000 to 1.720 million in the week ended June 24th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also slipped to 1,746,500, a decrease of 8,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,755,250.

“Despite the increase in initial claims, the claims data on the whole are consistent with conditions in the labor market that are too tight for the Fed and keep a rate hike on the table at the FOMC’s meeting later this month,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched monthly employment report for June.

Economists currently expect employment to jump by 225,000 jobs in June after surging by 339,000 jobs in May, while the unemployment rate is expected to edge down to 3.6 percent from 3.7 percent.

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