The Labor Department said initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 1,000 to 295,000 through the week-ending April 18. It was the third weekly rise in the claimant count and the first string of three increases in three months. The four-week moving average count rose by around 2,000 to 284,500 in the latest report, while continuing claims through April 11 jumped by 50,000 to 2.325 million. The labor market is sitting pretty for now yet its face remains scarred by the lasting impact of the financial crisis.
People often fail to find the type of work they really want and are forced to work more than one role in order to pay the bills, while average earnings growth remains close to the low level of consumer price increases. As for the claimant count, for now the question facing economists is whether the series has reached about as low as it can get to be consistent with payroll growth of around 3-million per year.
Chart shows net change in claims and 4-week moving average.