The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose by 3,000 to 222,000 last week.
That was higher than the 216,000 expected. The prior week’s claims was revised up 1,000 to 219,000.
Jobless claims are a proxy for layoffs. The most recent numbers are consistent with a tight labor market in which employers are reluctant to let employees go. They show no signs of stress from the trade war with China or the threat of higher tariffs on Mexico.
The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends because it smoothes out week-to-week volatility, rose 2,500 to 217,750 last week. That is still a very low level by historical standards.