The numbers: Initial jobless benefit claims in U.S. states rose 20,000 to 332,000 in the week ended Sept. 11, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had estimated new claims would total 318,000.
Last week new jobless claims had tumbled to a pandemic era low of 312,000.
The latest report on jobless claims is the first since the extra federal benefits for the unemployed expired on Sept. 6.
States can continue to pay the extra benefits using federal stimulus money approved by Washington earlier this year, but most have chosen not to do so.
Big picture: Economists were expecting claims to rise, in part because of Hurricane Ida.
Stepping back, companies seem to be reluctant to lay off workers owing to a major shortage of labor and an expectation the economy will rebound quickly from any delta-related damage. That’s why jobless claims have kept falling even though the economy has slowed.
The loss of benefits for almost 9 million unemployed people getting money from the federal program, meanwhile, could pinch the economy in the short run. The good news is that there are a record number of open jobs awaiting those who chose to return to work.