U.S. Jobless Claims Increase by 15,000 to 258,000

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly from a historically low level week, but still remained at a healthy labor market conditions.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits increased 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 258,000 in the week ended March. 18, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were unrevised to add 2,000 more applications.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had estimated initial claims to rise to 240,000 in the latest week. According to a Labor Department analyst, there were no special factors impacting last week’s claims data. The Jobless claims have been below 300,000 for 80 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1970. At that time, the data base was much smaller than today.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure of labor market trends, rose by 1,000 to 240,000 last week.

The labor market is close to full employment. The continued strength in the labor market supported Fed’s decision to raise interest rate last week. Investors has anticipated two more rate hikes this year.

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