US jobless claims drop for third straight week

Initial jobless claims in the US last week dropped to 232,000, hitting a two-month low amid continued labour market tightness, the Labour Department reported.

In the week ending August 27, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 5,000 from the previous week’s downwardly revised level of 237,000, according to a report released on Thursday by the Department’s Bureau of LaboUr Statistics (BLS).

The latest figure is lower than the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists, which called for 248,000 new applications, reports Xinhua news agency.

The four-week moving average for initial jobless claims, a method to iron out data volatility, also decreased by 4,000 to 241,500, the BLS report showed.

The latest figure of 232,000 is well above the 2019 weekly average of 218,000, which is the pre-pandemic level.

In the week ending March 21, 2020, jobless claims skyrocketed to 2.9 million.

Jobless claims totaled 166,000 in the week ending March 19 this year, the lowest in decades.

In recent months, the figures have been trending up amid surging inflation and rising interest rates.

The latest figure, however, showed that applications for unemployment insurance fell for a third week, signaling still robust demand for labour even as economic growth slows.

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