Jobless claims rise to 7-week high of 234,000
Initial jobless claims rose by 11,000 to 234,000 in the week ended May 19, the government said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 219,000 reading.
The more stable monthly average of claims, meanwhile, rose by 6,250 to 219,750.
The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits increased by 29,000 to 1.74 million. These are known as continuing claims.
What happened: Raw or unadjusted jobless claims increased in several large states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and California. Claims often increase in some states in late spring when the school year ends and bus drivers and cafeteria workers no longer have work.
The period between Easter and Memorial Day can also lead to sharp swings due to the shift in timing of the holidays.
Big picture: Similar increases in claims have been quickly followed by declines owing to what has been the strongest labor market in decades. The unemployment rate remains extremely low at 3.9% and the biggest problem companies face is finding enough skilled workers to fill a record number of job openings. A steadily growing U.S. economy may only exacerbate that dynamic.
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.21% and S&P 500 SPX, +0.32% were set to open modestly lower in Thursday trade. The 10-year Treasury yield TMUBMUSD10Y, -0.46% was unchanged at 3%.