First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly increased in the week ended October 10th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.
The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 898,000, an increase of 53,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 845,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 825,000 from the 840,000 originally reported for the previous week.
With the unexpected increase, jobless claims reached their highest level since topping 1 million in the week ended August 22nd.
The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also inched up to 866,250, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 858,250.
Meanwhile, the report said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, tumbled by 1.165 million to 10.018 million in the week ended October 3rd.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims also slumped to 11,481,750, a decrease of 682,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 12,164,000.
Despite the continued decline in continuing claims, Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics noted that “positive trend continues to be partly offset by a rise in the number of individuals who have exhausted regular benefits.”
“Failure to pass additional fiscal relief measures poses considerable downside risk to the economy, particularly as Covid-19 cases are on the rise and would likely lead to further job losses,” Vanden Houten said.
She added, “Failure to provide more relief raises the risk that some individuals will lose benefits altogether at the start of 2021.”
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