U.S. Jobless Claims Exceed Expectations

The employment picture south of the border is a tad less rosy this week as the country heads into 4th of July celebrations.

Figures released Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department showed initial claims for unemployment insurance remained elevated last week as employers struggled to fill a record amount of job openings.

The department said first-time filings totaled 411,000 for the week ended June 19, a slight decrease from the previous total of 418,000 and worse than the 380,000 Dow Jones estimate.

The comes amid a record 9.3 million job openings, a total just shy of the 9.6 million or so American workers still counted as unemployed. Last week’s jobless claims total marked the second week in a row that the level has stayed above 400,000 after briefly dipping below in late May.

As things stand, the current level of initial claims is about double where it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.