Jobless claims unexpectedly spike, highest since Feb.

July 10, 2015

WASHINGTON (7/10/15)--Initial claims for unemployment atypically rose during the week ending July 4, a week that historically experiences declines in jobless claims, having fallen seven out of the last eight years ( July 9).

Claims rose to 297,000 from 282,000 during the week, pushing the four-week moving average to 279,500, marking the second straight weekly increase and pushing the average to its highest level since late April.

“The trend continues to soften, but doesn’t raise a red flag,” said Ryan Sweet, Moody’s analyst ( “The four-week moving average in initial claims … is still below the 286,000 average in the first half of the year.”

Sweet added that nonfarm payrolls climbed an average of 208,000 per month in the first two quarters, signaling a low level of layoffs.

Continuing claims, meanwhile, jumped by 69,000 to 2.334 million during the week ending June 27, the third straight weekly increase.

The four-week moving average for continuing claims climbed by 15,500 to 2.268 million, which remains a low mark, according to Moody’s.

“It’s premature to draw any conclusions, but the rise in continuing claims could signal that the problems abroad have caused domestic businesses to pull back on some hiring,” Sweet said. “This warrants watching, but we are not overly concerned as continuing claims remain low.”