A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed a modest uptick in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended March 17th.
The report said initial jobless claims edged up to 229,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 226,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 225,000.
The less volatile four-week moving average also crept up to 223,750, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 221,500.
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, fell by 57,000 to 1.828 million in the week ended March 10th.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims dropped to 1,880,500, a decrease of 11,750 from the previous week’s revised average.
With the decrease, the four-week moving average of continuing claims fell to its lowest level since hitting 1,838,500 in January of 1974.