U.S. Jobless Claims Increased by 16,000 Last Week to 326,000

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U.S. Jobless Claims Increased by 16,000 Last Week to 326,000U.S. jobless claims grew more than estimated last week after touching a six-month low, an indicator that labor market is not yet solid.

The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending March 29 grew to 16,000, the highest level in five weeks. A revised 310,000 claims were filed a week earlier. A Bloomberg survey of 52 economists had forecasted for 319,000 applications.

“Layoffs are still very, very low,” Ryan Sweet, a West Chester, Pennsylvania-based senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc told Bloomberg. “Claims are pointing toward an improvement in the job market. It’s evidence that the economy’s struggles this year were temporary.”

A Bloomberg survey of economists had predicted claims to fall within a range of 310,000 to 335,000, up from last week’s forecast of 311,000.

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A separate report by the Commerce Department showed that the U.S. trade deficit surged to its highest level in five months in February. The deficit surged 7.7 percent to $42.3 billion, with U.S. exports to Latin America plunging to a three-year low.

U.S. stock index futures remained slightly unchanged after the report. Contract on S&P 500 Index that matures this June surged 0.1 percent to 1,884.3 as of 8:45 a.m. trade in New York.

The number of people who are currently receiving unemployment benefits surged 22,000 to 2.84 million in the week ending March 22. Claims decreased in 42 territories and states, and increased in 11 over the period.

Unemployment rate in persons who are qualified to claim benefits rose to 2.2 percent over the week, up from 2.1 percent the previous week.

To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com