Data released on Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department showed that initial jobless claims rose to 196,000, a slightly higher total than the 190,000 that economists were expecting — but still a historically low number. The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out some of the fluctuations between weeks, increased by 500 to 189,500. For the past four weeks, the four-week moving average has remained below 200,000.
Initial jobless claims rose by 13,000 to 196,000 in the week ended Feb. 4, Labor Department data showed Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted that 190,000 job applications would be submitted. According to the report, the four-week average of claims increased by 4,500, reaching 252,000. Continuing jobless claims also edged a touch higher to 1.696 million, up from 1.680 million in the prior week and topping estimates.
The Wall Street Journal had polled economists who expected new claims to be 200,000 in the seven days ending Feb. 11. The data has been adjusted for seasonal variations. Economists are predicting that the initial claims will go up to 200,000 from the revised 195,000 of the previous week.
Meanwhile, continuing claims also rose by 16,000 to a three-month high of 1.7 million in the week ending Feb. 4, They are reported with a one-week lag. Annual consumer prices were up 8.5 percent last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a slowdown from June’s 9.1 percent figure. A decrease of 0.5 percent in wholesale prices is yet another indication that inflation may be abating.
The Federal Reserve has raised rates by 2.25 percent to fight 40-year high inflation, and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell promised Tuesday to keep raising interest rates as long as necessary to tamp down historic inflation. Despite the Federal Reserve's efforts to reduce business investments and stall certain areas of the housing market, the US labor market has remained strong.
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