Weekly jobless claims increase 13,000 to 231,000
Continuing claims rise 32,000 to 1.865 million
Import prices drop 0.8% in October
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased to a three-month high last week, suggesting that labor market conditions continued to ease, which could help the Federal Reserve’s fight against inflation.
The weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department on Thursday, the most timely data on the economy’s health, also showed unemployment rolls expanding to levels last seen two years ago.
The labor market is cooling as higher interest rates curb demand, consistent with slowing economic activity.
It added to data this week showing subsiding inflation and a moderation in consumer spending in bolstering expectations that the Fed’s monetary policy tightening cycle is complete. "The Fed is surely encouraged by recent inflation data but needs to see a further slowdown in the labor market and wage growth to be persuaded that inflation is on a sustainable path back to 2%," said Nancy Vanden Houten, lead U.S. economist at Oxford Economics in New York. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 231,000 for the week ended Nov. 11, the highest since August. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 220,000 claims for the latest week. Unadjusted claims increased 1,713 to 215,874 last week. There was a jump in filings in Massachusetts and New York, which more than offset notable decreases in Oregon and Georgia. The increase in claims aligns with the recent slowdown in hiring. Job growth slowed in October and the unemployment rate climbed to 3.9%, the highest level since January 2022. With 1.5 job openings per every unemployed person in September, conditions remain fairly tight.