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Economic Report: U.S. jobless claims jump 23,000 to three-week high of 248,000 — but economists say no worries

The numbers: New applications for unemployment benefits jumped to 248,000 last week to break a string of recent declines, but layoffs are expected to stay low as companies strive to fill a near-record number of job openings. 

Initial jobless claims rose 23,000 from a revised 225,000 in the prior week,  the Labor Department said Thursday.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast initial jobless claims to total a seasonally adjusted 218,000.

A monthly average of jobless claims that smooths out the weekly ups and downs slipped X,000,

Big picture: The rise in claims is unlikely to last. Businesses flush with demand for their goods and services are trying to avoid layoffs in light of the biggest labor shortage in decades. 

They also have a near-record number of jobs to fill — almost 11 million. Most companies want to hire, they just can’t find enough takers. 

That’s a sign of a sturdy economy even if restrains some growth. 

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-0.16%

and S&P 500
SPX,
+0.09%

were set to open lower in Thursday trades after reports of Russia military action along the Ukraine border.

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