Jobless claims rose 2.3% last week
Initial jobless claims rose 2.3% last week, topping most analysts' estimates and reversing the declines of the prior few weeks. The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended May 21 increased to 424,000 from 414,000 the previous week, which was revised upward by 5,000 claims. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected 404,000 new jobless claims last week with a range of estimates between 395,000 and 420,000. A Briefing.com survey projected new claims of 400,000 for last week. Most economists believe weekly claims lower than 400,000 indicate the economy is expanding and jobs growth is strengthening. The four-week moving average, which is considered a less volatile indicator than weekly claims, fell by 1,750 to 438,500 from an upwardly revised average of 440,250 for the prior week. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate for the week ended May 14 dipped to 2.9% from 3%, according to the Labor Department. The total number of people receiving some sort of federal unemployment benefits for the week ended May 7 fell to nearly 7.74 million from 7.94 million the prior week. Write to Jason Philyaw.