U.S. Jobless Claims Push Slightly Ahead

The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits inched up last week, suggesting the stateside labour market remains on solid footing even as the U.S. economy is slowing.

Information released Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department revealed initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 3,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 215,000 for the week ended May 25. Data for the prior week was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 215,000 in the latest week. The department also said claims for California, Delaware, Kansas, Virginia and Puerto Rico were estimated last week because of Monday's Memorial Day holiday.

However, the four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labour market trends, ironing out week-to-week volatility, fell 3,750 to 216,750 last week.

Continuing strength in labour market conditions in America is seen supporting growth amid signs that economic activity is slowing after a temporary boost from volatile exports and inventory accumulation in the first quarter. Industrial production, durable goods orders, retail and homes sales all fell in April in the United States.