U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Total 279,000 vs. 277,000 Estimate

U.S. Weekly Jobless ClaimsU.S. weekly jobless claims were below 300,000 for the 14th straight week, signaling that America’s labor market is strengthening.

On Thursday, the Department of Labor reported the advance figure for seasonally-adjusted initial claims was 279,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level in the week ending June 6. (Source: The Department of Labor, June 11, 2015.)

The weekly jobless claims indicate the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, on Thursday, June 4.

Also Read: U.S. Jobless Claims Low, but Labor Market Still in Turmoil

Strong hiring could boost economic growth. The figures indicate that businesses are confident enough in the economic outlook to hire more employees and hold onto current ones. The applications are a proxy of layoffs. Therefore, very low readings could be welcome news that American people are experiencing more job security.

On Friday, June 5, 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 280,000 in May, and the unemployment rate rose to 5.5% from 5.4% in April. A strong showing could suggest that the economy has recovered from the worst financial crisis in 2008. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, last accessed June 11, 2015.)

Another sign of recovery in the labor market: average hourly earnings increased by eight cents to $24.96 or 0.3% from the prior month. They were up 2.3% from May of 2014.

Fed Outlook

Policy makers in the Federal Reserve are closely monitoring employment, as the Federal Reserve is expected to raise the federal funds rate this year.

“This improvement in the labor market has brought the economy closer to one of the two goals of monetary policy assigned to the Fed by Congress—maximum employment. Less progress has been made toward the other goal, price stability,” Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in Rhode Island on May 22, 2015. (Source:The Federal Reserve, last accessed June 11, 2015.)

Also Read: U.S. Jobs Growth: Slowest Since 2013 and Dragging Down U.S. Economy