Jobless claims edge up 2,000 to 205,000, but there’s still no sign of widespread layoffs – MarketWatch post

The U.S. labor market shows few signs of weakness

By: Jeffry Bartash


The post-recession boom has been going for 10.5 years now, and at the moment, shows no sign of letting up. Even though new claims for unemployment compensation went up by about 2,000 people, this is still a microscopic figure in comparison to the total number of workers in the U.S.

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The numbers: The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in early February rose slightly, but there’s still no sign of widespread layoffs in an economy that has been expanding for a record 10 and a half years.

A worker sorts packages at UPS. The unemployment rate sits near a 50-year low thanks to millions of new jobs being created over the past 10 years. Credit: Getty Images

Initial jobless claims edged up by 2,000 to 205,000 in the seven days ended Feb. 8, the government said Thursday. The figures are seasonally adjusted.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 211,000 reading.

The more stable monthly average of jobless claims, which filters out the weekly ups and downs, was unchanged at 212,000.

New applications for unemployment benefits give an idea of how many people are losing their jobs. They touched a 50-year low of 193,000 in April 2019 and have hovered in the low 200,000s since then.

Read: Rising rents drive consumer prices higher in January, but inflation in the U.S. still low

What happened: Raw or unadjusted jobless claims rose slightly in a handful of states and they fell the most in California, Missouri, Pennsylvania and New York.

The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits, meanwhile, sank by 61,000 to 1.69 million. They have fallen below the 1.7 million threshold for the first time since last Thanksgiving.

Read: These states had the lowest unemployment rates in 2019. What about swing states?

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