Applications for US unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in three weeks, suggesting demand for workers is still healthy.
(Bloomberg) — Applications for US unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in three weeks, suggesting demand for workers is still healthy.
Initial claims decreased by 10,000 to 230,000 in the week ended Aug. 19, according to Labor Department data out Thursday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 240,000 applications.
On an unadjusted basis, claims declined last week to around 198,000, the lowest since October. However, the drop was offset somewhat by the biggest jump in applications in Hawaii since the onset of the pandemic after devastating wildfires.
The report broadly showcases a labor market that has remained strong and is supporting renewed momentum in the economy. Employers are still hiring at a healthy pace, and the wave of layoffs that made headlines earlier this year seems to be abating.
That said, Charles Schwab Corp. and Juul Labs Inc. were among US employers to announce job cuts this week.
A separate report Wednesday showed US job growth was probably less robust in the year through March than previously reported, suggesting the resilience of the labor market has been somewhat overstated.
Continuing claims, which include those who have received benefits for longer than one week, edged down to 1.7 million in the period through Aug. 12.
The initial claims data can be particularly volatile in the summer months as automakers close for their annual retooling period. The four-week moving average, which smooths out some of that volatility, climbed to 236,750.
Another report Thursday showed orders placed with US factories for business equipment increased slightly in July, suggesting companies are somewhat cautious about capital investment amid high borrowing costs and economic concerns.
–With assistance from Jordan Yadoo.
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