WASHINGTON – Applications to collect unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since the end of June, topping all economists’ forecasts.
Jobless claims increased by 14,000 to 225,000 in the week ended Nov. 9, Labor Department data showed on Thursday. The figure reflected estimates of filings for five states and Puerto Rico, a greater number than is typical, because of the Veterans’ Day holiday on Monday.
A separate report showed prices paid to producers rose more than forecast in October.
- The larger gain in jobless claims could reflect seasonal adjustment issues and irregularities in the data that crop up during holidays. Claims had been holding between 206,000 and 221,000 since the beginning of July, just above a 49-year low of 193,000 reached in April.
- The recent trend helps explain Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s characterization of the economy in which he told lawmakers that a “healthy job market’’ and rising incomes are bolstering household spending.
- Claims were estimated for California, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Hawaii and Kansas. Except for Hawaii, estimated claims were higher for all states and Puerto Rico.
- Producer prices rebounded in October by the most in six months as costs of food, energy and services picked up, indicating stable-but-modest inflationary pressures. The producer-price index rose 0.4% from the previous month after a 0.3% decline.
- Excluding food and energy, the October PPI rose 0.3% after falling 0.3%. Compared with the same month last year, core prices rose 1.6%, also higher than forecast but the smallest gain since March 2017.
- Analysts watch this report to assess potential price pressures that have the potential of showing up at the consumer level. A more closely-watched measure of inflation, the core consumer price index, rose less than forecast from a year earlier.
- The four-week average of claims, which is less volatile, rose to 217,000 from 215,250.
- Continuing claims, reported with a one-week lag, fell by 10,000 in the week ended Nov. 2, the most since Aug. 24, to 1.68 million.
- Economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected 215,000 new claims in the latest week.
- Producer prices excluding food, energy, and trade services — a measure preferred by economists because it strips out the most volatile components — rose 0.1% from the prior month, and advanced 1.5% from a year earlier, the smallest annual gain in three years.
- The cost of goods jumped 0.7%, the most since March, after falling 0.4% the previous month. Services prices increased 0.3% after a 0.2% decline in September.
- Energy goods prices rose 2.8% after falling 2.5% in each of the prior two months; food costs climbed 1.3%, the most this year.
Reade Pickert is a reporter for Bloomberg News.
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