WASHINGTON, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The number of initial jobless claims edged up last week in the United States, according to a report released by the labor department on Thursday.
In the week which ends March 9, the number of people filing for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by 6,000 to 229,000 from previous week's unrevised figure of 223,000, said the report.
Labor department's report also showed that four-week average of initial claims, a method to iron out data volatility, decreased by 2,500 to 223,750 last week while the previous week's average was unrevised.
Besides, the report showed that the insured unemployment rate, a percentage of the labor force currently receiving unemployment insurance, was 1.2 percent for the week ending March 2.
The reading of jobless claims was still well below the 300,000 threshold, signaling a tight labor market in the United States.
However, market had already seen a slower pace in job growth. The Department of Labor reported on March 8 that nonfarm payrolls in the United States rose by only 20,000 in February, which was the weakest increase since September 2017.
The employment situation is one of the key indicators for U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) to decide its monetary policy. The Fed is scheduled to hold a policy meeting next week from March 19-20.
The Fed in January suspended a three-year cycle of rate hikes amid concerns about downside risks. The current target range for the federal funds rate is at 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent.