The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week, but the trend continued to point to a strong labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 220,000 for the week ended Aug. 10, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for the prior week was revised to show 2,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would rise 214,000 in the latest week. The Labor Department said there were no states estimated last week.
The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, edged up 1,000 to 213,750 last week.
There are still no signs that a bitter trade war between the United States and China, which has contributed to an inversion of the U.S. Treasury yield curve, was spilling over to the labor market. The U.S. 2-year Treasury note yield rose above the 10-year bond yield on Wednesday for the first time since June 2007.
An inverted U.S. yield curve is widely viewed as a classic recession signal. Concerns over the impact of the trade tensions between Washington and Beijing on the U.S. economic expansion, the longest on record, prompted the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates last month for the first time since 2008.
Financial markets have fully priced in another rate cut at the U.S. central bank's Sept. 17-18 policy meeting.
While hiring has slowed, the pace of job gains remains well above the roughly 100,000 needed per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population.
Thursday's claims report also showed the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 39,000 to 1.73 million for the week ended Aug. 3. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims rose 9,250 to 1.70 million.