By Greg Robb
The numbers: Initial jobless claims fell 2,000 to 231,000 in the week ended June 25, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had estimated new claims would inch up to 230,000 from last week’s initial estimate of 229,000. That figure was revised up to 233,000. The figures are seasonally adjusted.
Key details: The four-week average of new jobless claims rose 7,250 to 231,750. This is the highest level since December.
The number of people already collecting jobless benefits fell 3,000 to 1.33 million. These so-called continuing claims are now back to pre-crisis levels.
Big picture: The underlying trend in claims has moved slightly higher. New filings had fallen to as low as 166,000 in late March.
The Fed is aiming to slow the economy by sharply raising its policy interest rate in order to cool inflation. It remains uncertain how businesses will react. Layoffs may stay low if firms are reluctant to let workers given how hard it has been to find workers.
What are they saying: “The level of claims is still relatively low, but we don’t expect claims to fall much below the levels of the last few weeks. While labor markets remain very tight, reports of layoffs are increasing,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, lead U.S. economist at Oxford Economics.
Market reaction: Stocks (DOW:DJIA) (S&P:SPX) were set to open lower Thursday on rising recession fears. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note (XTUP:BX:TMUBMUSD10Y) fell to 3.04%.