The firing rate, or the number of new applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits rose last week to their highest rate since February, 2015. Weekly jobless benefits, the amount of first-time claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 297,000 for the week that ended July 4, the U.S. Department of Labor said on Thursday.
The previous week’s claims were revised up by 1,000 to 282,000, and a Labor Department analyst said there was nothing unusual in the latest claims report.
While the latest jobless claims report marks the 18th consecutive week below 300,000, the report took Wall Street completely by surprise. Economists polled by Reuters had expected new applications to fall to 275,000 last week.
The four-week moving average of claims — which is considered a better gauge of the labor market, as it irons out week-to-week volatility — rose 4,500 to 279,500 last week. Continued claims – the number of people still claiming jobless benefits after an initial week of aid – rose 69,000 to 2.334 million in the week ended June 27, the Labor Department said.