U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Inch Up Less Than Expected To 216,000

The Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing a modest increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended December 17th.

The report said initial jobless claims crept up to 216,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 214,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 222,000 from the 211,000 originally reported for the previous week.

“Initial claims data can be noisy around the holidays, but the low level of initial claims is a reminder that employers overall still aren’t laying off large numbers of workers even though the economy faces headwinds,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average dipped to 221,750, a decrease of 6,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 228,000.

The report said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also dipped by 6,000 to 1.672 million in the week ended December 10th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still climbed to 1,657,250, an increase of 30,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,627,000.

“On balance, the claims data are consistent with a labor market that is still too tight for the Fed and leave the Fed on track to raise rates further in 2023 after last week’s 50bps rate hike,” Vanden Houten said.

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