Unemployment claims continue to rise despite recession fears

Unemployment claims continue to rise despite recession fears

The number of Americans submitting new unemployment benefits declined slightly last week, marking the eighth straight week of flat or higher unemployment claims, the longest trend since the 2009 financial crisis.

What Happened: For the week ending December 3th, initial claims for unemployment benefits jumped 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 230,000, according to Labor Department statistics released Thursday.

The boost last week was in line with economists' predictions. Claims were well below the 270,000 barrier, which is negative for the job market, according to experts.

In the week ending Nov. 26, continuing claims, which included people who previously received unemployment benefits for a week or longer, increased by 62,000 to 1.7 million.

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The weekly jobless claims report revealed that unemployment rolls rose to a 10 month high in late November, but experts cautioned against reading too much into the shift because of the data that is unpredictable around the holiday season.

Isfar Munir, a Citigroup economist, said it is too early to interpret higher continuing claims as a signal of a loosening labor market. Many firms are closing temporarily during the holiday period, which makes it hard for workers to start a new job. Why it matters: Economists have been paying closer attention to continuing claims in recent weeks because it shows how difficult it is for people to get work after losing their jobs. It has also been known to predict imminent recessions.

The gauge climbed steadily over the last two months, but it remained around historic lows.

The rise in California, New York, Georgia and Texas was the reason why unadjusted claims increased by 87,113 to 286,436 last week. In Illinois, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey and Washington state, there were marked increases.

The unemployment rate for people receiving unemployment benefits went to 1.2%, the highest level since March, from 1.1% the previous week.