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David Goodloe
David Goodloe
Articles (769) 

Initial Jobless Claims Climb Unexpectedly

Number remains well below worrisome threshold

August 10, 2017

The number of initial claims for unemployment benefits was unexpectedly higher than anticipated last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists had predicted the number would be unchanged from last week at 240,000, but the actual number of applications was 244,000.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims inched up by 500 to 1.965 million.

The greatest number of first-time claims were seen in five states – Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Nevada and Washington. Iowa’s initial claims rose the most (573).

The largest decreases were in California, Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri and New York. Michigan had the greatest decrease (5,239).

Although initial jobless claims were higher than expected, economists were unconcerned.

“With the labor market near full employment, there is probably limited room for claims to continue declining,” Reuters wrote.

Reuters observed that “claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 127 straight weeks. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller.”

David Waring, co-founder of New York-based FitSmallBusiness.com, agreed.

“While jobless claims ticked up a bit more than expected,” Waring said, “the overall trend is still indicative of a very healthy job market and overall economy. We are likely not going to see claims continue to decline from here with unemployment already approaching historical lows.”

Senior economics reporter Greg Robb wrote for MarketWatch that “adjusted for population growth, claims are at their lowest level ever, said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.”

The next jobless claims report will be issued Thursday, Aug. 17.

About the author:

David Goodloe
I'm a journalist by training. I grew up in Arkansas and earned my B.A. at the University of Arkansas. I earned my master's degree at the University of North Texas. My background includes stints at newspapers in Arkansas and Texas and teaching news writing and news editing to students at the University of Oklahoma and Richland College here in Dallas. I'm a writer/editor at GuruFocus.

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