January 28, 2023

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Claims for jobless benefits fell to the lowest weekly level since September


Minneapolis
CNN

About 204,000 people applied for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s less than last week’s total unemployment claims and slightly lower than the pre-pandemic weekly average of 218,000.

Continuing claims, filed by people who received unemployment benefits for more than a week, fell to 1.69 million for the week ending Dec. 24, from 1.72 million.

Thursday’s data indicated continued resilience in the labor market despite the Federal Reserve’s anti-inflationary efforts aimed at cooling the economy — which usually have a negative impact on the labor market, leading to layoffs.

Many economists and investors fear that the Fed’s aggressive actions, which have included seven massive interest rate hikes, could tip the economy into recession. But so far, the job market appears to be impregnable.

“This is one reason for optimism that the economy can avoid a recession,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. he told CNN last week. “Without mass layoffs, consumers are unlikely to stop spending and the economy will suffer a contraction.”

Economists had expected 225,000 initial claims, according to a consensus estimate from Refinitiv.

Weekly unemployment claims are volatile — especially around the holidays — and subject to revision more often.

A separate report from payroll firm ADP said Thursday morning that the private sector added 235,000 jobs in December, a number that beat economists’ expectations of 150,000 jobs.

consumer-facing industries, particularly entertainment and hospitality; Small and medium-sized businesses are driving the increase in new jobs, ADP reported. The report stated that large establishments employing 500 workers or more shed 151,000 jobs during the last month of the year.

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Attention now turns to the Labor Department’s monthly employment report on Friday, which is expected to show that the US economy added 200,000 jobs during December, capping a year of exceptional job growth.

CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this report. This story is developing and will be updated.