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U.S. Jobless Claims Increase Less Than Forecast to 208,000

Katia Dmitrieva
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U.S. Jobless Claims Increase Less Than Forecast to 208,000

(Bloomberg) -- Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits rose less than estimated and remained around historically low levels, offering the latest signs that the labor market is holding up.

Jobless claims climbed by 2,000 to 208,000 in the week ended Sept. 14, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday that matched the lowest estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The four-week average, a less-volatile measure for initial claims, slipped to a seven-week low.

Key Insights

The report signals that any weakness in manufacturing amid the trade war with China isn’t leaking into the jobs market yet as employers continue hiring and retaining workers. A separate gauge from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed on Thursday that manufacturing in the region continued to expand at a moderate pace in September. The bank’s gauge of factory employment expanded at a faster pace, with nearly 25% indicating they were adding to their workforce.Fed officials on Wednesday continued to characterize employment as “strong” with “solid” payroll gains even as they made a second-straight interest rate cut to protect against weakness abroad and trade uncertainty.

What Bloomberg Economists Say

“Layoffs continue to be exceptionally low, pointing to tight labor-market conditions. Data around holidays, such as Labor Day, tend to be more volatile due to seasonal-adjustment issues so claims could drift higher in the coming weeks.”--Eliza WingerClick here to read the report

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Continuing claims, reported with a one-week lag, fell to 1.661 million, less than forecast and the lowest since April, in the week ended Sept. 7.The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held steady at 1.2%, where it’s remained for over a year.Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast that claims would rise to 213,000.

(Updates to add Philadelphia Fed gauge in second bullet and Bloomberg Economics comment box.)

--With assistance from Kristy Scheuble.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katia Dmitrieva in Washington at edmitrieva1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Scott Lanman at slanman@bloomberg.net, Jeff Kearns, Vince Golle

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