The numbers: New unemployment claims in the United States rose to a four-month high of 218,000 last week, but most of the increase appeared to be tied to just a few states like Kentucky and California. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits was still very low.
Claims for unemployment benefits rose by 21,000 from 197,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal predict that initial unemployment claims will rise to 200,000 seasonally adjusted in the seven days ending May 14th.
Unemployment benefit applications fell in March to a minimum of 54 years from 166,000 and have hovered around 200,000 since the beginning of the year.
Large image: The job market is still very strong. Job vacancies are at a record high and many companies are complaining that they are not finding enough workers.
A handful of big companies like Amazon AMZN,
They have recently indicated that they plan to reduce hiring or even reduce staffing, but there are few indications that the layoffs are about to become widespread.
Economists are watching closely, however, because unemployment demands are usually starting to rise before a recession. There is growing concern that a slowdown is possible with the Federal Reserve raising interest rates to try to control the worst inflation in 40 years.
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
the S&P 500 SPX,
they will open lower on Thursday’s trades. The Dow sank more than 1,000 points on Wednesday due to renewed concerns about the economy.