Last week initial claims for unemployment insurance across the U.S. rose as expected, although by less than expected.
For the week ending Feb. 11, claims were a seasonally adjusted 297,000, an increase of 19,000 claims from the previous week's revised total of 278,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Feb. 16. Analysts, however, had expected last week's claim total to hit the 300,000 mark.
The department's four-week moving average of initial jobless claims also rose but remains consistent with a relatively stable job market. For the week ending Feb. 11, the average was 283,000 an increase of 6,250 claims from the previous week's revised average of 276,750. The moving average tends to be a better reflection of underlying labor market conditions because it smooths out week-to-week changes in the level of claims.