Initial claims for unemployment rose by 20,000 to 287,000 for the week ended December 26th. This was the highest since July. Shartia Brantley reports.
New claims for unemployment benefits rose sharply last week. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 287,000 for the week ended December 26th, according to the U.S. Labor Department. This was the highest since July. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 270,000. However, they remain near a 42-year low. And have come in below 300,000, a threshold associated with a strong labor market, for 43 consecutive weeks. That's the longest stretch since the 1970s. The labor market improvement in 2015 prompted the Federal Reserve to increase its target interest rate in December for the first time in a decade. But many economists expect a slower pace of job market improvement in 2016.