Initial Jobless Claims at a Nine-Month High
Initial claims for unemployment insurance climbed to a nine-month high last week, the Department of Labor said today. Economists had expected claims to drop from 488,000 the prior week to 476,000. Instead, they reached the highest level since November: 500,000.
It is not good to read too much into any one weekly report — the numbers tend to jump around a lot. Still, this seems terrible. The four-week moving average is increasing, and now sits at 482,500, up from 474,500 last week. Claims have ticked up every week for the past month. At one point, it looked like the drop in unemployment claims could stall out, with the number of claim remaining at a high level of about 450,000, as they have since January. But now there is at least a slight bump in claims.
Claims need to fall into the 300,000 range to drag down the unemployment rate, currently 9.5 percent. The uptick implies a better chance that the unemployment rate will climb through the fall, as some economists expect.