U.S. jobless claims drop for third straight week amid still tight labor market

(Xinhua) 08:53, September 02, 2022

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Initial jobless claims in the United States last week dropped to 232,000, hitting a two-month low amid continued labor market tightness, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday.

In the week ending Aug. 27, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 5,000 from the previous week's downwardly revised level of 237,000, according to a report released by the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The latest figure is lower than the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists, which called for 248,000 new applications.

The four-week moving average for initial jobless claims, a method to iron out data volatility, also decreased by 4,000 to 241,500, the BLS report showed.

The latest figure of 232,000 is well above the 2019 weekly average of 218,000, which is the pre-pandemic level. In the week ending March 21, 2020, jobless claims 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 figure, however, showed that applications for unemployment insurance fell for a third week, signaling still robust demand for labor even as economic growth slows.

The number of job openings in the United States rose to 11.2 million by the end of July, as the imbalances between labor market supply and demand remained, the U.S. Labor Department reported Tuesday.

The July unemployment report, which was released in early August, showed that the number of unemployed edged down to 5.7 million. With the increase in job openings, there were nearly two job positions per available worker, signaling widening imbalances.

The latest jobless claims 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 26,000 to 1.438 million during the week ending Aug. 20. 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


Related Stories