U.S. Jobless Claims Increase Marginally

The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits rose modestly last week, suggesting little impact on the stateside labour market from trade tensions, which have eroded business confidence and undercut manufacturing.

Information provided Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 217,000 for the week ended August 31. Data for the prior week was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Economists had forecast claims would be unchanged at 215,000 in the latest week.

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 1,500 to 216,250 last week.

Layoffs have remained low despite the year-long trade war between the United States and China, which is weighing on business investment and manufacturing and threatening the longest economic expansion in history.

Thursday brought word that the two sides in the trade dispute would soon be sitting down to resume negotiations.