New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week benefits increased
8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000, the Labor Department said. The prior week’s figure was revised up to 354,000 from the previously reported 351,000.
Gallup reports that U.S. unemployment, as measured without seasonal adjustment, increased to 9.1 percent in February from 8.6 percent in January and 8.5 percent in December.
Read Gallup’s explanation here:
The four-week moving average for new
claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, edged up 250 to 355,000.
Nonfarm employment likely increased 210,000 last month, according to a Reuters survey, after rising 243,000 in January.
“It is too soon to say that the government sector is out of the woods when it comes to layoffs,” according to said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “However, recent gains in employment across many states are undoubtedly helping to boost payroll tax revenue. Furthermore, many states and local municipalities have already cut to the bone and may have little room for additional cuts. The biggest threat for increased government job cuts remains the federal government, which is still under pressure to cut deficits and bring spending under control.”
The four-week moving average of jobless claims, which is a less volatile indicator than weekly claims, increased by a mere 250 claims last week to 355,000 from the prior week’s slightly revised 354,750.