Weekly jobless claims total 351,000, worse than expected

First-time filings for unemployment benefits jumped last week, hitting the highest level in a month, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Initial claims for the week ended Sept. 18 totaled 351,000, an increase from the previous week’s upwardly revised 335,000 and well ahead of the 320,000 Dow Jones estimate. The total was the highest since the week of Aug. 21.

Markets reacted little to the news, with stock market futures pointing to a strong opening and government bond yields slightly higher on the session.

The latest claims figures indicate that while the jobs market has come a long way since the early days of the pandemic, there is still work to be done before it is healed.

Continuing claims also increased, rising 181,000 to total more than 2.84 million.

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