Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits rose for the first time in three weeks while remaining near levels that reflect a tight labor market.
Jobless claims climbed to 214,000 in the week ended Dec. 15, slightly below the median estimate in Bloomberg’s survey of economists, Labor Department figures showed Dec. 20. The four-week average, a less-volatile measure, fell to 222,000.
The report underscores the tight jobs situation in the U.S. as companies push to hire and retain employees, lowering the number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits. The data are consistent with robust demand for workers, despite recent indications of moderating economic growth, such as lower consumer and business optimism.
Analysts caution that it’s difficult to gauge the underlying trend of claims around the holidays as seasonal factors may prove to be short-term, such as a boost in Christmas hiring.