Stateside Jobless Claims Hit 4-Week High

Filings for unemployment benefits south of the border rose to a four-week high and exceeded estimates, a sign the stateside labour market may be softening somewhat even as it remains strong overall.

U.S. Labor Department figures released Thursday showed that jobless claims rose to 229,000 in the week ended March 9, above economist forecasts for 225,000. The four-week average, a less-volatile measure, declined to a six-week low of 223,750.

Continuing claims, which are reported with a one-week lag, rose by 18,000 to 1.776 million in the week ended March 2.

The rise in claims suggests forces such as the government shutdown and slower global growth could be reverberating through the economy. Some analysts have expressed concern that recent rises in claims indicate the job market may be cooling somewhat following several years of strong gains.

The previous week’s total claims were unrevised at 223,000.