U.S. jobless claims hit 6-month high last week

2018-11-30 09:09

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The number of U.S. initial jobless claims increased last week to the highest level since May, according to a report released by the U.S. Labor department on Thursday.

In the week which ends Nov. 24, the number of people filing for U.S. unemployment benefits increased by 10,000 from previous week's unrevised figure, reaching 234,000, said the report.

The report also showed that four-week average of initial claims increased by 4,750 to 223,250 last week, as the previous week's average was unrevised.

Although the reading of initial jobless claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, the increase of initial jobless claims could signal a slowdown in the labor market.

The U.S. economy added 250,000 jobs in October with the unemployment rate unchanged at 3.7 percent, the lowest level in almost five decades, the department reported earlier this month.

With the latest jobless rate still sitting at a low level, the market estimated that the U.S. labor market was near or at full employment, while the continued hiring and wage increases would support U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) to further raise its benchmark interest rate.

However, some market analysts said that the Fed had released a more dovish comment on future rate hikes.

During a speech on Wednesday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that the rates "are still low by historical standards, and they remain just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy."

Many investors treated this comment as a signal that the Fed could change its rate hike schedule.

The Fed raised its benchmark interest rate for the third time this year in September. Fed policy makers also indicated another possible rate hike in December. 
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