The US Department of Labor (DoL) reported 455,000 claims for the week ending April 19, an 8,000 increase from a revised 447,000 the previous week. The latest report follows a 30,000 claims hike for the week ending April 12 (See Job Market Slumbers On; Unemployment Claims Skyrocket).
The latest DoL data represented the tenth straight week that the total claims clung stubbornly above the 400,000 level – widely considered a key benchmark of a still slumbering labor market. Economists in Reuters’ regular weekly poll had predicted a claims drop to 425,000.
The four week-moving average for claims — considered a more reliable measure because it irons out short-term fluctuations — increased to 439,250, up 13,250 from the previous week revised figure of 426,000. That was the highest level in a year.
The number of workers continuing on state unemployment benefits jumped 42,000 to 3.6 million for the week ending April 12.