U.S. Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Decrease To Seven-Month Low

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell to a seven-month low in the week ended September 16th, the Labor Department revealed in a report released on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 201,000, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 221,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 225,000 from the 220,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the unexpected decrease, jobless claims fell to their lowest level since hitting 199,000 in the week ended January 28th.

“We won’t read too much into one week’s reading, however, looking at the big picture, claims remain at low levels, a sign that while labor market conditions are cooling, the job market is still characterized by very few layoffs,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

She added, “We expect some increase in layoffs later in the year as the economy slows but look for job losses to be modest compared to prior recessions.”

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also slipped to 217,000, a decrease of 7,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 224,750.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance also fell by 21,000 to 1.662 million in the week ended September 9th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also edged down to 1,687,000, a decrease of 8,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,695,750.

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