The industry’s focus continues to remain on the labor market, as the latest jobless claims report posts that filings hit 294,000 in the week ending May 7, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 274,000, the Department of Labor said.
The department said this is the highest level for initial claims since Feb. 28, 2015 when it was 310,000.
In addition, the 4-week moving average jumped to 268,250, an increase of 10,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 258,000.
This marks 62 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1973, the department said.
Jobs are in the spotlight since it’s a significant factor in whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.
Looking at the most recent jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 160,000 in April as market growth started to slow down.
In December, the FOMC announced an increase of the federal funds rate, which was the first rate hike since June 2006. In the wake of that announcement, some analysts believed that there would be as many as three more rate hikes in 2016.