WASHINGTON (7/12/13)--Initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits--a proxy for layoffs--jumped 16,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The gain in first-time claims, which total a seasonally adjusted 360,000 for the week ended July 6--is at a level that still indicates job growth. It also suggests that the checkered nature of the labor market's recovery shows it remains in the healing process (The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Bloomberg.com and Moody's economy.com July 11).
Claims typically are volatile the first two weeks of July, stemming from temporary closures of plants in auto manufacturing and other industries, and the July 4 holiday usually distorts unemployment readings, the Journal said.
Auto-plant shutdowns skew the July claims numbers, concurred Brian Jones, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York. The labor market is making consistent progress and the hiring pace is decent, he told Bloomberg.
The four-week moving average of claims--which smooths out weekly volatility--rose 6,000--to 351,750 last week from the prior week's 345,750.
Continuing claims for unemployment benefits increased 24,000--to nearly 2.98 million--for the week ended June 29.