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Financial News: U.S. Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Edge Down To Three-Month

U.S. Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Edge Down To Three-Month Low

01/12/2023 - 09:20:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly edged slightly lower in the week ended January 7th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims slipped to 205,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's revised level of 206,000.

The dip surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to rise to 215,000 from the 204,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the modest decrease, initial jobless claims fell to their lowest level since hitting 190,000 in the week ended September 24th.

"Initial claims data are still noisier than usual because of seasonal adjustment around year-end, but the low level of new claims is a reminder that employers overall still aren't laying off large numbers of workers," said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also edged down to 212,500, a decrease of 1,750 from the previous week's revised average of 214,250.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also fell by 63,000 to 1.634 million in the week ended December 31st.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims dipped to 1,679,500, a decrease of 8,750 from the previous week's revised average of 1,688,250.

"Continued claims have come off their recent high, although seasonal factors may have been a factor in the latest week's sharp decline, said Vanden Houten.

Last Friday, the Labor Department released a separate report showing employment in the U.S. increased by slightly more than expected in the month of December.

The report said non-farm payroll employment jumped by 223,000 jobs in December after surging by a revised 256,000 jobs in November.

Economists had expected employment to shoot up by 200,000 jobs compared to the addition of 263,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The Labor Department also said the unemployment rate edged down to 3.5 percent in December from a revised 3.6 percent in November.

The unemployment rate was expected to come in unchanged compared to the 3.7 percent originally reported for the previous month.

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