More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, indicating the labor market continues to struggle.
Jobless claims decreased by 2,000 to 387,000 in the week ended June 16, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 45 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for 383,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, climbed to the highest of the year.
The level of dismissals may raise concern the slowdown in payrolls reported in the past few months will be prolonged, limiting consumer spending. Federal Reserve policy makers yesterday expanded a program to replace short-term bonds with longer-term debt in a bid to spur growth and trim a jobless rate thatâ€™s exceeded 8 percent for 40 consecutive months.
â€œMomentum is slowing,â€ said Ryan Wang, an economist at HSBC Securities USA Inc. in New York, the only economist in the Bloomberg survey to correctly forecast the level of claims. â€œCompanies have curtailed demand for labor. This means less income growth. Thatâ€™s a restraint on consumer spending.â€
Stock-index futures were little changed after the report. The contract on the Standard & Poorâ€™s 500 Index maturing in September rose 0.1 percent to 1,351.8 at 8:41 a.m. in New York.
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 371,000 to 390,000. The Labor Department revised the previous weekâ€™s figure up to 389,000 from an initially reported 386,000.