A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by more than expected in the week ended March 12th.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims dipped to 214,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 229,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 220,000 from the 227,000 originally reported for the previous week.
“With the tight labor market likely to persist in 2022, employers will continue to hold on to existing workers while remaining staunchly in hiring mode,” said Lydia Boussour, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.
She added, “This will continue to put downward pressure on jobless claims and likely drive them even lower in coming months.”
The report showed the less volatile four-week moving average slipped to 223,000, a decrease of 8,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 231,750.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance also slid by 71,000 to 1.419 million in the week ended March 5th, hitting the lowest level since February 1970.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims also decreased by 42,500 to 1.463 million, reflecting the lowest level since March 1970.
“Going forward, we expect continued strong labor demand and higher labor force participation will help close the 2.1 million jobs gap by H2 2022 and expect the unemployment rate to fall toward 3.5% this summer,” said Boussour.
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