U.S. Jobless Claims Fall from 5-Month High

Washington, Rabi’I 9, 1438, Dec 8, 2016, SPA — The number of people filing initial applications for U.S. state unemployment benefits fell from a five-month high last week, the government reported Thursday, indicating labor strength that reflects the economy’s sustained momentum.
The Labor Department said jobless claims fell 10,000 to 258,000 last week. It was the 92nd consecutive week that claims were below 300,000, a level associated with a healthy labor market.
The four-week moving average of jobless claims—a better measure of labor-market trends because it smoothes weekly volatility—rose 1,000 to 252,000 last week.
The number of people still receiving unemployment benefits fell 79,000 to 2.01 million last week, following two consecutive weeks of increases. The four-week average of continuing claims fell slightly to 2.03 million.
Jobless claims remain historically low. While claims had risen the previous two weeks, reaching to a five-month high last week, claims also fell to a 43-year low in mid-November.
The labor market is near full employment, with the government reporting last week that the unemployment rate fell to a nine-year low of 4.6 percent in November amid solid increases in hiring.
A tight labor market combined with signs of a strengthening economy and steadily rising inflation are expected to push the Federal Reserve (Fed) to raise interest rates next week. The central bank raised its key interest rate in December 2015 for the first time in nearly a decade.
–SPA
19:03 LOCAL TIME 16:03 GMT