New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week but a trend reading rose to its highest since January, the latest sign of a weaker pace of healing in the still-struggling labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week’s figure was revised up to 389,000 from the previously reported 386,000.
The four-week moving average for new claims, a closely followed measure of labor market trends, rose 6,250 to 381,750, its highest since the week that ended Jan. 7.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new claims falling to 375,000 last week.
The reading was the latest example of fizzling momentum in the labor market recovery. New claims fell sharply during early winter but the improvement has largely stalled in recent weeks.
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