First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits increased for the second straight week in the week ended July 25th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday, although claims rose by less than expected.
The report said initial jobless claims edged up to 1.434 million, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 1,422,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 1.450 million from the 1.416 million originally reported for the previous week.
The increase in jobless claims seen over the past two weeks came on the heels of decreases in the fifteen preceding weeks.
“The latest jobless claims data show that the resurgence in Covid-19 cases is taking a toll on the recovery in the labor market,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.
The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also rose to 1,368,500, an increase of 6,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,362,000.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also jumped by 867,000 to 17.018 million in the week ended July 18th.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims still slumped to 17,058,250, a decrease of 435,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 17,493,750.
Vanden Houten said the increase in continuing claims, the first since the week ended May 23rd, suggests that a pause in rehiring may also be occurring.
Next Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched monthly employment report for July.
Economists currently expect employment to spike by 2.260 million jobs in July after soaring by 4.800 million jobs in June.
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