U.S. Jobless Claims Dip Less Than Expected But Hit Lowest Since March

A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell less than expected in the week ended September 12th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims slipped to 860,000, a decrease of 33,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 893,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 850,000 from the 884,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the modest pullback, jobless claims fell to their lowest level since hitting 282,000 before the coronavirus-induced lockdowns in March.

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average fell to 912,000, a decrease of 61,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 973,000.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also plunged by 916,000 to 12.628 million in the week ended September 5th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims tumbled to 13,489,000, a decrease of 532,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 14,021,750.

“Sifting through the messy jobless claims data, we find that layoffs remain widespread and a historically high number of individuals are still receiving some type of jobless benefits,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

She added, “Failure on the part of policymakers to enact another fiscal relief package poses significant downside risks to the economy and labor market as the recovery appears to be losing momentum.”

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