US Jobless claims surprise to upside but four-week average slips

Claims came in above the consensus estimate of 2.4mln but fell in the week to May 16 from the prior 2.687mln. This was revised lower by 294k from the previous 2.981mln after a clerical error in Connecticut. The four-week moving average fell to 3.042mln, a drop of 501k from the previous week. The number of claims over the past eight weeks totals around 38.6mln, which is equivalent to all the claims filed during the Great Recession. That said, this is now the seventh consecutive week of declines, tying the all-time record.


The record continuing claims figures, that is those Americans receiving unemployment benefits, has sent the insured unemployment rate to 17.2pct. This series is reported with a one-week lag.


Continuing claims rose by 456k, above the expected 24.3mln. The previous reading was revised lower, from 22.833mln to 22.548mln. The four-week moving average jumped by 2.3mln to 22mln.