Weekly jobless claims rise more than expected to 362,000

Initial jobless claims climbed again last week, rising to 362,000 as hiring appeared to remain sluggish while the U.S. continues to fight against the delta variant.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting 335,000 new filings, the same number as the upwardly revised total from the previous week.

The total was the highest since the 377,000 for the week ended Aug. 7 and indicates that hiring may be slowing at a time when concerns are growing about the pace of the economic recovery and the impact the pandemic may have heading into autumn.

Markets reacted little to the news, with stock futures continuing to point higher and government bond yields around flat.

The four-week moving average for weekly claims, which smoothes volatility in the numbers, edged lower to 335,750.

Continuing claims, which run a week behind the headline weekly number, rose to 2.84 million, an increase of 131,000. The four-week moving average for continuing claims fell to 2.8 million, a drop of 15,750 and the lowest since March 14, 2020, the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With enhanced unemployment benefits coming to a close, the total of those enrolled under all programs fell to 11.25 million, a drop of 856,440. A year ago, 26.6 million were receiving benefits under programs the government had developed to combat massive pandemic-related layoffs.

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