U.S. weekly jobless claims unexpectedly increase By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People line up outside a newly reopened career center for in-person appointments in Louisville, U.S., April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Amira Karaoud WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week, though the labor market continues to steadily recover. Initial […]


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People line up outside a newly reopened career center for in-person appointments in Louisville, U.S., April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Amira Karaoud

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week, though the labor market continues to steadily recover.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 351,000 for the week ended Sept. 18, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Ida, which made landfall in late August, devastated U.S. offshore energy production and knocked off power in Louisiana. One of the most powerful hurricanes ever to strike the Gulf Coast, it also drenched Mississippi and caused record flooding in New York and New Jersey.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 320,000 applications for the latest week. Claims have dropped from a record 6.149 million in early April 2020, but still remain above the 200,000-250,000 range viewed as consistent with healthy labor market conditions.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday struck upbeat note on the economy, paving the way to reduce its monthly bond purchases “soon” and signaling interest rate increases may follow more quickly than expected.

Last week’s claims data covered the period during which the government surveyed employers for the nonfarm payrolls portion of September’s employment report.

Job growth slowed in August, with payrolls posting their smallest gain in seven months amid a stalling in hiring in the high contact leisure and hospitality sector as infections driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus surged.

Pandemic-related factors are causing worker shortages, which are constraining hiring. Fed Chair Jerome Powell told reporters he anticipated “more rapid gains in employment” as these factors, which include lack of affordable child care and fears contracting the virus, diminish.

There were a record 10.9 million job openings at the end of July. The Fed projected the unemployment rate at 4.8% this year. That was up from the 4.5% rate the U.S. central bank projected back in June. The jobless rate was at 5.2% in August.

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