NEW YORK — Initial unemployment claims in the United States rose by 1,000 to 295,000 the week ending April 18, thereby marking a third consecutive weekly increase and building on a 12,000 rise to 294,000 in the previous week, RBC Economics reported.
Market expectations had been for a 287,000 reading in the latest week, said Nathan Janzen, senior economist.
The four-week moving average of initial claims rose for a second consecutive week, but the reading of 284.5,000 was still only modestly above the cycle low of 282,500 in the week ending April 4. Continuing claims for the week ending April 11 rose by 50,000 to 2,325,000.
“Despite modest gains during the last two weeks, the four-week moving average of initial claims remained historically low and was still consistent with a solid underlying rate of improvement in labor markets,” said Janzen. “Payroll employment growth slowed to a smaller than expected 126,000 rate in March; however, that followed 12 consecutive months of 200,000 or better readings and left the average gain during the past year at a still-solid 261,000 per month.
“Although job gains at the rate observed in the last 12 months are likely to become increasingly difficult to maintain, given slow growth in the working-age population and shrinking slack in labor markets, we expect increases going forward will still be stronger than the March rise,” said Janzen. “That will be sufficient to prompt further declines in the unemployment rate, which, at 5.5 percent, sits already modestly above the 5.0 percent to 5.2 percent that the Federal Reserve views as ‘normal’ in the longer run.
SOURCE: RBC Economics press release