U.S. weekly jobless claims hit 228,000, far above estimates

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U.S. weekly jobless claims hit 228,000, far above estimates
Credit: © Reuters.

By Scott Kanowsky 

Investing.com -- The number of new applications for unemployment insurance in the U.S. soared by more than expected last week in the latest sign of cooling in the U.S. labor market, while the previous reading was revised far higher following a broad change in estimation models used by the Labor Department.

According to the Labor Department data on Thursday, seasonally-adjusted initial jobless claims for the week ended on April 1 came in at 228,000. The mark was down from 246,000 in the preceding week - a reading that was itself upwardly revised from a preliminary level of 198,000. Economists had seen the weekly figure at 200,000.

The four-week moving average , which aims to account for volatility in the weekly numbers, was 237,750, down from a greatly upwardly revised number of 242,000.

Meanwhile, continuing claims climbed to 1.823 million from a revised mark of 1.817 million in the prior week, indicating that it may be becoming more difficult for recently unemployed workers to find new jobs. Forecasts had placed the total at 1.699M.

In a note ahead of the data, the Labor Department said the adjustment in its models for calculating unemployment insurance claims was designed to reflect the impact of the pandemic on the data set. This led to the larger-than-usual revisions, it added. 

Thursday's figures follow a steady stream of labor market readings out of the U.S. that have been released this week. The March job openings survey, as well as ADP (NASDAQ: ADP )'s private hiring report , both indicated that the labor market in the world's largest economy is beginning to slow, albeit from historically tight levels.

The figures have helped fuel predictions that the Federal Reserve could moderate its recent series of interest rate hikes going forward. The yield on the U.S. 2-Year note, which closely tracks rate expectations, has now slipped for a fifth straight day, even as some senior Fed officials have moved to persuade markets that ongoing hikes in borrowing costs are still a possibility.

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