Initial Jobless Claims Hold Steady

Published by: Mike Goldman on 12th Nov 2015 | View all blogs by Mike Goldman

Initial Jobless Claims Hold Steady

The US Labor Department reported Thursday that initial unemployment claims held steady last week, fueling the sentiment that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates next month.  According to the report, initial claims came in at a seasonally adjusted 276,000 for the week ended November 7th, the same number of claims as there were in the previous week.  Economists noted that the number is consistent with a stable labor sector, and could encourage the Fed to make a move on rates.  Claims have now been below 300,000 for a staggering 36 weeks, and claims numbers are approaching levels not seen since the 1970s.  The unemployment rate, meanwhile, has fallen to 5.0 percent, the lowest US jobless rate in more than 7 years.  The Fed has held the benchmark overnight interest rate near zero since the end of 2008, and will discuss raising the rate at next month's policy meeting.  

The Labor Department's four-week moving average of claims, a measure designed to smooth out seasonal volatility, rose by 5,000 last week to 267,750.  Despite the increase, however, the moving average is still very close to a 42-year low.  The report also showed an increase of 5,000 in continuing claims, or those still receiving benefits after the first week.  In the week ended October 31, the latest data available for continuing claims, there were 2.17 million Americans receiving extended benefits.

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