Several Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits climbed modestly last week, suggesting a little impact on the labor sector from trade conflicts, which have consumed business confidence and undercut production.
Preliminary claims for state unemployment benefits rose 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 217,000 for the week ended Aug. 31, the Labor Division said Thursday. Records for the earlier week was revised to show 1,000 more applications came than previously reported.
Economists polled had forecast claims would be unchanged at 215,000 in a recent week. The Labor Division claims for California, Kansas, Hawai, Puerto Rico, and Virginia were counted last week due to Monday’s Labor Day holiday.
The four-week moving average of preliminary claims, considered a greater measure of labor market traits as it irons out weekly volatility; rose 1,500 to 216,250 last week.
Layoffs have remained low regardless of the year-long trade war between Washington and Beijing, which is putting pressure business investment and manufacturing and threatening the longest economic expansion in history.
Job growth has slowed from an average of 223,000 monthly last year. However, the tempo of employment gains stays well above the approximately 100,000 jobs needed per 30 days to keep up with progress in the working-age population. The unemployment rate is predicted to have held at 3.7% in August for a third consecutive month.