Fist-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly increased in the week ended November 21st, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Wednesday.
The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 778,000, an increase of 30,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 748,000.
The increase surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to drop to 730,000 from the 742,000 originally reported for the previous week.
The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also edged up to 748,500, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 743,500.
Meanwhile, the report said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, slumped by 299,000 to 6.071 million in the week ended November 14th.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims also tumbled to 6,615,250, a decrease of 438,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 7,053,250.
Next Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched report on the employment situation in the month of November.