Jobless Claims Up Slightly, But Backlog May Be Hiding Improvements

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The number of Americans applying for initial jobless benefits increased less than expected last week, offering an encouraging if still muddled sign that gradual growth in employment is continuing, Bloomberg News reports.

The slight uptick in claims was likely made worse by a backlog of applications in California and Nevada, which both recently changed their computer systems.

Applications for unemployment benefits rose 15,000 to 309,000 in the week ended Sept. 14, still hovering, according to the Wall Street Journal, around the lowest figure since 2007.

“The labor market is genuinely improving,” Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale, told Bloomberg. “Even if they’re working through the backlog, these numbers seem to have a little bit more behind them than just processing problems.”

[Bloomberg News]