US jobless claims slightly drop last week

Initial jobless claims in the US last week dropped slightly to 250,000, hovering around nine-month high as the labour market shows signs of cooling, the Labour Department said.

In the week ending August 13, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 2,000 from the previous week’s downwardly revised level of 252,000, according to a report released on Thursday by the Department’s Bureau of Labour Statistics.

The four-week moving average for initial jobless claims, a method to iron out data volatility, decreased by 2,750 to 246,750, Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying.

The latest figure of 250,000 is well above the 2019 weekly average of 218,000, which is the pre-pandemic level. In the week ending March 14, 2020, jobless claims totaled 221,000, but in the following week, the figure 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 report also showed that the number of people continuing to collect regular state unemployment benefits, which was reported with a one-week lag, increased by 7,000 to 1.4 million during the week ending August 6.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs — state and federal combined — for the week ending July 30 also increased by 2,696 to 1.48 million.

The Labour Department reported earlier this month that US employers added 528,000 jobs in July despite recession fears, with the unemployment rate edging down to the pre-pandemic level of 3.5 per cent, signaling a still robust labour market.




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