US jobless claims hit 2-year high

Jobless claims rise

Jobless Claims Jump to 252,000 Highest in 2 Years 5Getty Images John Carney12 Dec 2019

WASHINGTON-The number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits jumped to the highest level in more than two years a week after recording one of the lowest levels in a half century, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Jobless claims rose by 49,000 to 252,000 in the week ended December 7, Labor Department data showed Thursday. This marked the highest level for claims since 30 September 2017, when it was 257,000.

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The jobless claims tally sees large swings from week to week but can be used to gauge the prevalence of layoffs and the health of the labor market.

Continuing claims, reported with a one-week lag, decreased by 31,000 in the week ended November 30 to bring the four-week moving average for the measure to two-month low.The unemployment rate among people eligible for jobless benefits held at 1.2%.Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had projected 214,000 new claims in the latest week.

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Meanwhile, the four-week moving average came in at 224,000, up 6,250 from the previous week's level.

The tightening labor market increases the likelihood they will move this month, especially in light of recent inflation data: the Fed's preferred measure of inflation, released Wednesday, rose to a almost four-year high, just below the Fed's two percent target. "It's hard to enough to adjust monthly data, but weekly data around holidays which fall on different days of the week each year are impossible to adjust reliably". The four-week average continues to trend near a 50-year low. The unemployment rate fell back to 3.5 per cent, the lowest in almost half a century.

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The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits beyond the initial week fell by 31,000 to 1.67 million.

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