US Initial jobless claims increased to 244,000 in the week ending August 5th from a revised 241,000 the previous week which was originally reported as 240,000. The figure was slightly above consensus forecasts of 240,000, although there has been little overall change over the past few weeks.
The four-week moving average declined slightly to 241,000 for the week from 242,000 previously.
Continuing claims in the week ending July 29th declined significantly to 1.951mn from a revised 1.968mn the previous week and the reading has remained below 2.00mn for 15 successive weeks.
The 4-week moving average was unchanged at 1.965mn with a halting of the upward drift seen over the past few weeks.
The unemployment rate among workers eligible for benefits remained at 1.4% for the week.
The largest increases in claims for the week was seen in Iowa at close to 600 while the largest decline was registered in Michigan at over 5,000 on the week.
The data overall continues to suggest a very firm labour market with a stable trend in claims over the past few months. Claims have not been above the 250,000 level for over two months.
Overall Federal Reserve confidence in the labour market should remain firm, with the main focus on whether the tightening market leads to stronger wages growth. The data should continue to support policy normalisation, but with the Fed wary of pushing rates above a neutral level.