U.S. unemployment claims rise to 361,000 in mid-December

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – First-time claims of unemployment insurance benefits in the U.S. inched higher for the first time in five weeks, a sign of how crucial a faster economic growth is for the improvement in the labor market.

In the week ending Dec. 15, initial unemployment claims in the U.S. climbed to 361,000, higher by 17,000 from the revised figure of 344,000 in the previous week.

In a survey of economists by Bloomberg, the range of first-time claimers ranged between 324,000 and 379,000.

The four-week moving average of initial claims is down by 13,750 to 367,750, compared to the previous week’s unrevised figure of 381,500, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

In the week ending Dec. 8, the jobless rate among Americans eligible for unemployment insurance stood at 2.5 per cent. The number of states and territories that reported declining claims is 42, while those that reported an increase is 10.

In a report released by the Labor Department on Dec. 7, employers made 146,000 new hires in November, significantly above a median estimate of 85,000. This drove down the unemployment rate to 7.7 per cent, the lowest level in four years.

Last week, the Federal Reserve announced it was willing to maintain an accommodative interest rate policy to spur the economy and further improve the job market conditions.

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