Initial Jobless Claims Higher Than Expected

The government shutdown in Puerto Rico ended last May 19, but not before it added 26,578 first-time claims for unemployment insurance to the total, the U.S. Labor Department reported on May 25.

As a result, although last week's seasonally adjusted figure for initial claims was 329,000, down 40,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 369,000, it was 14,000 claims above the 315,000 economists generally expected. Without the claims associated with the government shutdown, initial claims would have been about 302, 500.

Also reflecting the continued movement of Puerto Rico government-shutdown claims through the statistics, the Labor Department's four-week moving average for initial unemployment insurance claims rose slightly last week to 337,000, an increase of 3,250 from the previous week's revised figure of 333,750.

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