Jobless Claims Stateside Fall Less than Expected

Those Americans filing applications for jobless benefits fell less in number than expected last week, while the four-week moving average of claims rose to its highest level since April, suggesting some loss of momentum in the labour market south of the border.

Figures released Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 231,000 for the week ended Dec. 1. Data for the prior week was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Economists had forecast claims falling to 225,000 in the latest week

Claims had risen for three straight weeks, touching an eight-month high of 235,000 during the week ended Nov. 24.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labour market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 4,250 to 228,000 last week, the highest level since mid-April.

Some economists blame the rise on volatility in the financial markets, the fading stimulus from a $1.5-trillion tax cut and the Trump administration’s protectionist trade policy.