New US jobless claims rise again as labor market cools

By Amina Niasse

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, indicating the labor market continues to cool in the year’s fourth quarter.

New state unemployment benefit claims rose by 12,000 last week to 218,000, according to the Labor Department. A Reuters poll showed economists expected an increase to 210,000 initial claims for the week ended Dec. 23.

The rolls of those receiving benefits after one week of aid rose 14,000 from the week prior, reaching 1.875 million. Continued unemployment claims, a measure for hiring, have increased since mid-September, indicating those already out of work may be having difficulties getting a job.

In November’s economy, 199,000 new jobs emerged, up from 150,000 in October according to the Labor Department’s non-farm payrolls report. The unemployment rate also fell moderately from the month prior, to 3.7% from 3.9%.

Amid slower job growth and milder inflation, the Federal Reserve has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged for three consecutive policy meetings, and economists expect its hike campaign to be at an end.

The Fed has raised its policy rate by 525 basis points, to the current 5.25%-5.50% range, since March 2022 in a bid to curb inflation.

(Reporting by Amina Niasse; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)