US Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Edge Down To 236000

Lloyd Doyle
December 7, 2017

A day ahead of the release of the closely watched monthly jobs report, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday unexpectedly showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended December 2nd.

The continued low readings on weekly jobless claims show that the labor market has recovered from the devastation caused by the 2007-2009 Great Recession, the worst downturn since the 1930s. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller.

The Labor Department says the destruction from the September hurricanes is still disrupting claims processing in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.4%.


Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, which aims to smoothe out the volatility in the data from one week to the next, fell by 750 to 241,500. The claims data has no impact on November's employment report, due to be published on Friday, as it falls outside the survey period.

Employment is expected to increase by 200,000 jobs in November after surging up by 261,000 jobs in October.

The unemployment rate is forecast unchanged in November. Those were the first back-to-back quarterly gains above 3 percent in three years.

Economists polled by Reuters had estimated initial claims to be 240,000 in the latest week. The four-week moving average remained stable at 242k.

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