WASHINGTON (8/9/13)--Initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits inched up last week--although less than expected--from a near five-year low. That still indicates, however, a slowly improving labor market (The Wall Street Journal and Moody's Economy.com Aug. 8).
Initial claims--a proxy for layoffs--rose 5,000--to a seasonally adjusted 333,000--for the week ended Aug. 3, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists had forecast a filing of 335,000 claims last week, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey.
The four-week moving average of claims--which smooths out weekly volatility--declined to 335,500 from 341,750 the prior week.
Continuing claims for unemployment benefits rose 67,000--to 3.018 million for the week ended July 27.
If claims levels stay consistently low, companies will be less worried about trimming labor costs and likely will be more willing to raise workers' wages, Jonathan Basile, director of U.S. economics at Credit Suisse, told the Journal.