According to a Labor Department release, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose, during the week ending September 6, to a two-month high, interrupting a steady decrease to the lowest level since before the 2008 recession. Jobless claims increased by 11,000 to 315,000 in the same week, which included the Labor Day holiday. It was the highest reading since June 28 and exceeded the Bloomberg survey median forecast of 300,000.
Initial claims have been hovering near pre-recession lows as the labor market continues to gather strength with stronger labor demands. Bigger gains in hiring are needed to prompt employers to boost wages, which could boost consumer spending. The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, increased to 304,000 from 303,250 the week before.
The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits rose by 9,000 to 2.49 million in the week ended Aug. 30. In that same period, the unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.9 percent. Initial jobless claims reflect weekly firings and typically decrease before job growth can accelerate.
U.S. employers added 142,000 workers to their payrolls in August, a slowdown after six straight months of job growth that had exceeded 200,000 as the employment rate ticked down to 6.1 percent.