Saturday, January 18, 2020

Jobless Claims Dive 10,000 to 203,000

Jobless claims unexpectedly fell last week by 10,000 to 203,000.

The fall in claims indicates that the labor market remains tight and layoffs scarce. An estimate of private payroll growth from payroll processor ADP and Moody’s Analytics this week came in lower than expected this week, suggesting that job creation could be cooling.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 203,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The previous week’s claims figure was unrevised at 213,000.

This was the lowest weekly jobless claims number since mid-April’s 193,000, which was the low going back to 1969.

Economists had expected claims to climb to around 218,000.

Jobless claims can be volatile week-to-week. The four-week average of claims, which smooths out that volatility, fell by 2,000 to 215,750.

Jobless claims are a proxy for layoffs. The very low numbers suggest that employers are hanging on to employees even as economic growth has slowed in the second half of the year.

Thanksgiving fell during the week. Holidays can create noise in economic data, particularly jobless claims data.

John Carney

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