(Sharecast News) - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, according to figures from the Labor Department.
US initial jobless claims were up 7,000 from the previous week's unrevised level to 214,000.
Economists had been expecting a drop to 206,000. Meanwhile, the four-week moving average came in at 209,500, up 2,500 from the previous week's unrevised average.
The four-week average is considered more reliable as it smooths out sharp fluctuations in the more volatile weekly figures, giving a more accurate picture of the health of the labour market. Continuing claims - i.e.
the number of people already collecting unemployment benefits - rose to 1.66m from a revised 1.656m the week before, in line with forecasts.
The previous week's level was revised up by 6,000. Pantheon Macroeconomics said: "The seasonals pointed quite strongly to a dip in claims this week, so we wonder if this reading has been pushed up by the lingering impact of Hurricane Florence. "Claims are likely to rise further next week in the wake of Hurricane Michael, and the next clean numbers probably won't appear until November, by which point we think the underlying trend will be below 200K.
Before the storms, the trend was clearly still falling.
Labour demand is running way ahead of the growth in labor supply, so firms need to hold onto their existing workforce; replacing people has become very difficult."
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