Gold pared early losses after Labor Department data Thursday said that initial weekly U.S. jobless claims soared by 70,000 to a seasonally adjusted 281,000 in the week to Saturday due to the COVID-19 virus. Spot gold was last down $13.40 to $1,472.70 an ounce.
Consensus expectations compiled by various news organizations had called for initial claims to be around 220,000.
“During the week ending March 14, the increase in initial claims are clearly attributable to impacts from the COVID-19 virus,” the Labor Department said. “A number of states specifically cited COVID-19 related layoffs, while many states reported increased layoffs in service-related industries broadly and in the accommodation and food services industries specifically, as well as in the transportation and warehousing industry, whether COVID-19 was identified directly or not.”
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for new claims – often viewed as a more reliable measure of the labor market since it smooths out week-to-week volatility – was up by 16,500 claims to 232,250.
Continuing jobless claims, the number of people already receiving benefits and reported with a one-week delay, increased by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 1,701,000 during the week ending March 7, the government said.