More Americans unexpectedly filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, showing firings remain elevated even as employment climbs.
Initial jobless claims rose by 25,000 to 471,000 in the week ended May 15, exceeding the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the highest level in a month, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The number of people receiving unemployment insurance and those getting extended payments fell.
Some companies are trimming payrolls to boost or maintain profits, even as employers have added jobs each month this year. Unemployment may take time to recede as more jobseekers enter the workforce and fail to find work.
“Claims remain uncomfortably high,” Aaron Smith, a senior economist at Moody’s Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said before the report. “The improvement in continuing claims has slowed noticeably.”
Applications were projected to drop to 440,000 from 444,000 initially reported for the prior week, according to the median forecast of 44 economists in a Bloomberg survey. Estimates ranged from 425,000 to 448,000. The Labor Department revised the prior week’s figure up to 446,000.
There were no special factors behind the jump in claims last week, a Labor Department spokesman said.
The sideways movement of initial claims has been a concern of mine for the last several months. This increase is not good and indicates the the labor market is not healing as quickly as we would like.
Here's a chart of the data: