U.S. jobless claims up modestly, labor market trend improving

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose marginally last week, but the underlying trend suggested the labor market continued to steadily imrpove.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits ticked up 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000, according to the Labor Department. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 1,000 fewer applications received than previously reported.

The four-week average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 3,750 to 331,500.

Last week’s claims report covered the survey period for January non-farm payrolls data. The four-week average for new claims fell 12,250 between the December and January survey periods, suggesting some acceleration in job growth this month.

Employers added 74,000 new jobs to their payrolls in December after creating 241,000 positions the prior month.

The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid rose 34,000 to 3.06 million in the week that ended January 11.

A total of 3.71 million people were receiving benefits under all programs in the week that ended January 4.  Benefits for 1.35 million long-term unemployed Americans expired on December 28.

Source: Reuters

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