Surprise decline in unemployment benefits applications in the USA
Unemployment claims in the US fell to a four-week low, contrary to expectations, to 192 thousand, pointing to the strength of the labor market.
Contrary to expectations, applications for unemployment benefits in the USA fell to the lowest level in four weeks, pointing to the strong tightness in the labor market.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 3,000 to 192,000, according to data released by the Labor Department on Thursday, while the median estimate in the Bloomberg survey of economists was 200,000.
On the other hand, ongoing applications, which include people who have already received unemployment benefits for a week or more, decreased by 37 thousand in the week ending February 11, experiencing the biggest decline since December, falling to 1.65 million.
The job market is very tight due to many measures, including strong jobs created, low unemployment and millions of open positions. This has been a major concern for the Fed, as policymakers view the robustness of the labor market as a factor that keeps inflation high.
Increasing layoffs are cited as a pessimistic sign. Meta Platforms Inc. is preparing for a new wave of layoffs that could affect thousands of workers, according to the Washington Post. Consulting firm McKinsey is reportedly planning to lay off about 2,000 as the cuts spread to some other industries.