U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Rebound Slightly More Than Expected

A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed a modest rebound in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended December 11th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose to 206,000, an increase of 18,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 188,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 195,000 from the 184,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The slightly bigger than expected increase came after jobless claims fell to their lowest level since 1969 in the previous week.

“While seasonal factors have made the data volatile in recent weeks, the trend in jobless claims points to historically low layoff activity and is consistent with a tight labor market,” said Lydia Boussour, Lead Economist at Oxford Economics.

She added, “Looking past the weekly noise, we expect initial claims will steady around 200k in coming months given tight labor market conditions and continued robust demand for workers, assuming the Omicron variant has only a moderate negative impact on the economy.”

The report showed the less volatile four-week moving average dipped to 203,750, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 219,750.

With the drop, the four-week moving average fell to its lowest level since hitting 202,750 in the week ended November 15, 1969.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also tumbled by 154,000 to 1.845 million in the week ended December 4, hitting the lowest level since March 14, 2020.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also slid to a pandemic-era low of 1,963,250, a decrease of 66,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 2,029,250.

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