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Thursday, January 9, 2020

U.S. Jobless Claims Fall a Fourth Week as Labor Market Holds Up

© Reuters.  U.S. Jobless Claims Fall a Fourth Week as Labor Market Holds Up© Reuters. U.S. Jobless Claims Fall a Fourth Week as Labor Market Holds Up

(Bloomberg) -- Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits fell to a five-week low, the latest indication that the labor market remains solid just ahead of the monthly payrolls report due Friday.

Jobless claims dropped 9,000 to 214,000 in the week ended Jan. 4, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday that were below estimates in Bloomberg's survey of economists. The four-week average, a less-volatile measure, decreased to 224,000.

Key Insights


  • The fourth straight drop in filings, the longest streak since April, underscores signs of strength in the labor market. Companies may be less likely to let employees go amid an elevated level of job openings and difficulty hiring talented and experienced staff.

  • While the latest figures show that the labor market remains healthy, filings have been somewhat higher in recent months after falling to the lowest level since 1969 in April.

  • The data come a day before the December jobs report, which is forecast to show payrolls rose by 165,000 as the unemployment rate held at a half-century low of 3.5%. Federal Reserve officials have consistently called the labor market strong.

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  • Continuing claims, reported with a one-week lag, increased by 75,000 to 1.803 million in the week ended Dec. 28, the highest level since April 2018.

  • The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.2% for a sixth straight week.

  • Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast that claims would decline to 220,000.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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