Bad news for the economy this week. Jobless claims are on the rise, according to a new Labor Department report.
Initial claims for state unemploymentbenefits increased 34,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week’s figure was revised up to 352,000 from the previously reported 350,000.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 365,000 last week. The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, fell 1,500 to 375,500.
Claims data is volatile in July because of the timing of the annual auto plant shutdowns for retooling.
Automakers are not embarking on wholesale plant shutdowns, throwing off the model that the department uses to smooth the data for typical seasonal patterns.
A Labor Department official said they were still experiencing volatility related to the auto layoffs that usually happen at this time of year.