The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose more-than-expected last week, signaling a slowdown in the labor market, but probably not as much as the near-total recession of job growth in the February report.
The US Department of Labor said Thursday that new applications for government unemployment benefit increased by 6,000 to an average of 229,000 last season, and the data for the previous week were unchanged.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected demand to rise to 225,000 in the latest week.
The four-week moving average, a more accurate indicator of the labor market because it excludes weekly volatility, fell by 2,500 to 223,750 last week.
Last week, the government announced a non-farm payroll increase of only 20,000 jobs in February, the weakest level since September 2017.