U.S. Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Drop To Lowest Since September
Applications for US unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest since September, in another sign of resiliency in the labor market amid a weakening economy.
(Bloomberg) -- Applications for US unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest since September, another sign of resiliency in the labor market amid a weakening economy.
Initial unemployment claims decreased by 20,000 to 211,000 in the week ended Dec. 10, Labor Department data showed Thursday. The number was below all estimates in a Bloomberg survey. The median forecast was for a 232,000 advance.
Continuing claims, which include people who have already received unemployment benefits for a week or more, were little changed 1.67 million in the week ended Dec. 3, in line with expectations. Economists have been watching that measure more closely as it can indicate of how difficult it is getting for people to find work.
The data can be choppy from week to week, especially around holidays. The four-week moving average, which smooths out some of the volatility around Thanksgiving, fell by 3,000 to about 227,000.
The US labor market has so far remained largely resilient to the Federal Reserve’s aggressive campaign to cool the economy in an effort to tame persistent inflation. Despite layoffs in white-collar sectors including technology and banking, hiring has remained robust across many other industries and workers have been benefiting from rapid wage gains.
Still, Fed policy makers this week increased their unemployment projections for next year as the economy slows.
On an unadjusted basis, initial claims fell to almost 249,000 last week. New York posted the largest decrease after a big jump the previous week. Applications in Texas, Georgia and California also declined.
A separate report showed that US monthly retail sales fell in November by the most in nearly a year, reflecting softness in a range of categories that suggest some easing in Americans’ demand for merchandise.
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