A day ahead of the release of the more closely watched monthly jobs report, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing a modest increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended April 28th.
The report said initial jobless claims inched up to 211,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 209,000. Economists had jobless claims to climb to 225,000.
The modest uptick came after jobless claims fell to their lowest level since December of 1969 in the previous week.
Meanwhile, the less volatile four-week moving average fell to 221,500, a decrease of 7,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 229,250. With the drop, the four-week moving average fell to its lowest level since March of 1973.
The Labor Department noted claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, tumbled by 77,000 to 1.756 million in the week ended April 21st, hitting the lowest level since December of 1973.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims also fell to a more than forty-year low of 1,833,250, a decrease of 15,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,848,750.
On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched monthly employment report for April.
Employment is expected to increase by 192,000 jobs in April after rising by 103,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate is expected to dip to 4.0 percent from 4.1 percent.