Filings for U.S. Jobless Benefits Top Expectations

The number of those Americans filing unemployment claims outnumbered expectations of experts, new figures released Thursday morning revealed.

The U.S. Labor Department reported the number climbed to a six-week high of 220,000, though the level of layoffs remains near a post-2008-recession low.

Initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, rose by 9,000 to 220,000 in the seven days ended Aug. 10, the highest level since late June, though most of the increase appears to have occurred in California.

Economists had estimated new claims would total a seasonally adjusted 213,000.

The more stable monthly average of new claims, meanwhile, rose by a smaller 1,000 to 213,750. The four-week average usually gives a more accurate read into labour-market conditions than the more volatile weekly number. It’s historically low as well.

The number of people in the U.S. already collecting unemployment benefits, known as continuing claims, increased by 39,000 to 1.73 million, the highest level since March.