US CLAIMS for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, but this did little to change views that the labour market was strengthening.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 311,000 for the week ending 9 August the US Labor Department announced yesterday.
Economists, who had expected claims to rise only about 295,000, shrugged off the increase.
Claims are settling down after a volatile period in July related to annual car factory shutdowns. At one point last month, jobless claims were at their lowest level since 2006.
“Today’s report continues to signal a solid labour market that is experiencing a very low pace of layoffs,” said Omair Sharif, senior economist at RBS in Stamford, Connecticut.
The four-week average of claims, a better measure of labour market trends rose 2,000 last week to 295,750. However, claims at that level are consistent with solid job gains.