The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose to a five-month high last week, but this probably does not signal a shift in labor conditions as demands for several states were estimated due to Monday's holiday.
Initial state benefit requirements increased 14,000 to seasonally adjusted 225,000 for the week ending November 9, the highest reading since June 22, the Labor Department said Thursday. Last week's data was not considered.
Economists polled by Reuters had predicted that claims would reach up to 215,000 over the past week. The Labor Department said the requirements for California, Hawaii, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and Virginia were estimated. Some states did not have enough time to process the injury data because of Monday's Veterans Day holiday, which led to estimates.
The four-week moving average of the first claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as the rate of week-to-week volatility, increased only 1
The layoffs are still low, although the pace of employment has slowed down from last year's rapid pace, and the labor market remained solid and reduced the financial market fears of a recession.
The labor force, characterized by the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years, supports consumer spending and helps offset some of the economic hit from a 16-month US-China trade war.
Federal Reserve leader Jerome Powell told lawmakers Wednesday that the job market had "benefited a wide range of individuals and communities."
Last month, the US central bank cut interest rates for the third time this year, signaling a break in the relief cycle that began in July when it reduced its borrowing costs for the first time since 2008.
Thursday's claims report also showed the number of people receiving benefits after a first week's aid dropped 10,000 to 1.68 million for the week ended November 2nd.
The so-called continuing demands were probably bolstered in recent weeks by a 40-day strike by workers at General Motors, which economists said caused temporary layoffs at car parts suppliers.
Four-week moving average of continued claims remained unchanged at 1.69 million.