The Labor Department said Tuesday that weekly jobless claims fell last week from a 7-month high, but still missed economists’ expectations and remain above 300,000.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 307,000 for the week ended Jan. 17, which many economists on the difficulty adjusting for seasonal variations around the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 300,000 last week. The prior week’s data was revised to show 1,000 more claims received than previously reported.
The four-week moving average of claims — which considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility — still increased by 6,500 last week to 306,500. That marks the first time first-time unemployment applications are above the 300,000 mark since September 2014.
The claims data covered the week during which the government surveyed employers for January’s nonfarm payrolls.
The four-week average rising 7,750 between the December and January payroll survey periods, and the report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 15,000 to 2.44 million in the week ended Jan. 10.