A day ahead of the release of the more closely watched monthly jobs report, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing a modest uptick in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended June 30th.
The report said initial jobless claims inched up to 231,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 228,000.
The modest increase came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to edge down to 225,000 from the 227,000 originally reported for the previous week.
The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average rose to 224,500, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 222,250.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, climbed to 1,739,000, an increase of 32,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 1,707,000.
The four-week moving average still dipped to a new 44-year low of 1,718,250, a decrease of 1,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,720,000.
On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release a separate report on employment in the month of June, which includes both private and public sector jobs.
Employment is expected to increase by 195,000 jobs in June, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.8 percent.