US weekly jobless claims rise more than expected
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week, but the underlying trend remained consistent with a tight labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 211,000 for the week ended March 4, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 195,000 claims for the latest week.
Claims had remained below 200,000 for seven straight weeks, indicating that high-profile job cuts in the technology sector had not had a material impact on the labor market.
Data on Wednesday showed there were 1.9 job openings for every unemployed person in January. The Fed’s Beige Book described the jobs market as remaining “solid” in February, also noting “scattered reports of layoffs” and that “finding workers with desired skills or experience remained challenging.”
With the labor market persistently tight, inflation readings strong and consumer spending robust in January, Fed Chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers this week that the U.S. central bank would likely need to raise interest rates more than expected.
Financial markets have priced in a 50-basis-point rate hike at the Fed’s March 21-22 policy meeting, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
The Fed has increased its policy rate by 450 basis points since last March from near zero to a 4.50%-4.75% range.
This report’s information was first seen on REUTERS; to read more, click this link.
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