US jobless claims rise modestly in latest week
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose slightly last week in a sign the United States labour market continues to improve at a moderate pace. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 343,000, the Labour Department said on Thursday.
Readings for jobless claims can be volatile in July because many factories close to retool during the period, and it is difficult for the government to adjust the data for seasonal swings because the shutdown schedule varies from year to year. Still, a four-week average of new claims, which smooths out volatility, fell 1,250 from a week earlier.
The data reinforces the view that the labour market is weathering this year's tax hikes and federal budget cuts, which appeared to drag heavily on economic growth during the first half of the year. A Labour Department analyst said there was nothing unusual in the data and that no states had provided estimates.
The US labour market has shown signs of strength in recent weeks, with 195,000 jobs added to payrolls in June. This has fuelled expectations the Federal Reserve will start winding down its massive stimulus programme as early as September.