US jobless claims hit lowest level in a month

US jobless claims hit lowest level in a month

Initial claims for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits fell last week to their lowest level in a month, easing continued strength in the labor market despite a growing number of high-profile job cuts. profile in large companies.

Initial claims decreased by 12,000 to 201,000 in the week ending February 17, according to data released by the Department of Labor. The figure was lower than the estimates of all economists in a Bloomberg survey.

Continuing claims, a proxy for the total number of people receiving unemployment benefits, fell to 1.86 million in the week ending February 10also the lowest level in a month.

The latest data, which shows that job applications remain near historic lows, adds to other reports indicating that The labor market remains strong despite high interest rates. Many economists see job stability as a key factor supporting forecasts for sustained increases in consumer spending this year.

Weekly claims tend to be volatile. The four-week moving average, which helps minimize short-term swings, declined to 215,250.

Unadjusted initial claims data, which does not take into account seasonal influences, fell to 197,932, the lowest level since October. California and Kentucky saw the biggest drops.

Morgan Stanley and electric car maker Rivian Automotive are among companies that have announced plans to reduce their workforce this month. The growing number of layoffs at large firms may indicate that unemployment claims could increase in the coming months, although the numbers have remained low so far.