A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday unexpectedly showed a modest increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended October 6th.
The report said initial jobless claims rose to 214,000, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 207,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 206,000.
The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also crept up to 209,500, an increase of 2,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 207,000.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also inched up by 4,000 to 1.660 million in the week ended September 29th.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims still fell by 10,000 to 1.656 million, its lowest level since August of 1973.
Last Friday, the Labor Department released a separate report showing weaker than expected job growth in the month of September, although the unemployment rate still fell to its lowest level since December of 1969.
The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment climbed by 134,000 jobs in September, while economists had expected an increase of about 185,000 jobs.
However, the report also showed a significant upward revision to the pace of job growth in August, with employment spiking by 270,000 jobs compared to the originally reported jump of 201,000 jobs.
The Labor Department also said the unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in September from 3.9 percent in August. The unemployment rate had been expected to edge down to 3.8 percent.