Initial jobless claims rise more than expected

Initial jobless claims rose to 274,000 last week, according to the Labour Department.

Economists had forecast that first-time filings for unemployment insurance totaled 260,000 last week, up from 257,000 in the prior period.

The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out some of the week-by-week volatility, increased by 2,000 to 258,000. We’re now 61 weeks in with a claims print that has not topped 300,000 — the longest streak since 1973.

Claims are still hovering around the lowest levels since that year, and are a key indicator that the labour market remains robust.

This is the last piece of employment data we’ll get ahead of the jobs report on Friday. Economists forecast that nonfarm payrolls grew by 200,000 in April.

JP Morgan’s Daniel Silver said in a note, “The claims data can be very choppy around this time of year because of the varied timings of Easter, Passover, and school spring breaks; so, for now, we are viewing the recent increase in claims as some payback for some of the lower readings reported a few weeks ago.”

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