U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Rise Again, Led by California
(Bloomberg) -- Applications for U.S. state unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose for a third straight week, led by another surge in California, and reflecting choppiness in weekly data.
Initial unemployment claims in regular state programs rose to 362,000 in the week ended Sept. 25, a seven-week high, Labor Department data showed Thursday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a decrease to 330,000 new applications.
Continuing claims for state benefits fell to 2.8 million in the week ended Sept. 18.
The increase likely underscores swings in weekly data as employers are desperate to hire more workers and hang onto the ones they still have. Claims are also still hovering near pandemic lows.
That said, the last time there were three consecutive weeks of rising unemployment claims was April 2020, though those increases were significantly larger.
Stocks opened higher, while the dollar weakened following the report and Treasury yields edged higher.
California saw an increase of nearly 18,000 claims, the biggest in the week, after a more than 17,000 surge in the previous period. Michigan and Texas also showed notable gains, though much smaller. Virginia, after seeing one of the biggest jumps last week, posted the largest decline this week, followed by Maryland.
With the end of federal pandemic unemployment programs, California said those who are still out of work, or working reduced hours, may qualify for regular state jobless benefits. This could help explain the back-to-back jumps in the state.
Federal pandemic unemployment benefits ended by Sept. 6 in all states. The White House has said it will not extend jobless aid further, but states can use pandemic relief funds to provide additional assistance to unemployed workers.
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