The number of Americans filing for first-time jobless claims rose more than expected last week, but experts insist the data does not suggest a negative in labor market conditions.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 329,000 for the week ending on April 19, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Meanwhile, claims for first time jobless benefits during the week ending on April 12 were revised upward by 1,000 more applications than was previously reported last week.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits jumping to 310,000.
There are difficulties when adjusting the data for seasonal factors, including a late Easter this year and the various timing of spring breaks.
The four-week moving average for new claims, which is considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, increased by only 4,750 to 316,750. Last week, however, the four-week rolling average indicated a drop of 4,750 to 312,000.
Also, Labor Department analyst said told People’s Pundit Daily that no states were estimated and there were no special factors influencing the state level data.
The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell 61,000 to 2.68 million in the week ended April 12, which is the lowest level since December of 2007. However, that doesn’t necessarily reflect a positive trend, considering the amount of Americans receiving benefits must decrease during long-term unemployment because the benefits are no infinite.
Continuing claims fell between the March and April survey periods, which suggests a drop in the jobless rate, or at least that it hold steady. The unemployment rate was at 6.7 percent in March.