U.S. weekly jobless claims at nine-month low; productivity accelerates

U.S. weekly jobless claims at nine-month low; productivity accelerates

  • Weekly jobless claims drop 3,000 to 183,000
  • Continuing claims lower 11,000 to 1.655 million
  • Productivity accelerates at 3.0% fee in fourth quarter
  • Unit labor prices develop at 1.1% tempo

WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (Reuters) – The variety of Americans submitting new claims for unemployment advantages dropped to a nine-month low final week because the labor market stays resilient regardless of increased borrowing prices and mounting fears of a recession this 12 months.

The shock decline in weekly jobless claims reported by the Labor Department on Thursday raised cautious optimism that the anticipated downturn shall be shallow and brief. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell instructed reporters on Wednesday that “the economic system can return to 2% inflation with out a actually important downturn or a extremely massive enhance in unemployment.”

“Layoffs stay low and demand for staff continues to be robust,” mentioned Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in White Plains, New York. “The labor market has but to reply meaningfully to a fast enhance in rates of interest.”
Initial claims for state unemployment advantages dropped 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 183,000 for the week ended Jan. 28, the bottom degree since April 2022. It was the third straight weekly decline in purposes. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 200,000 claims for the newest week.

Unadjusted claims slipped 872 to 224,356 final week. There had been notable declines in purposes in Kentucky, California and Ohio, which offset will increase in Georgia and New York.

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Claims have been operating low this 12 months, in keeping with a persistently tight labor market. The authorities reported on Wednesday that there have been 11 million job openings at the top of December, with 1.9 openings for each unemployed individual.

Outside the know-how trade and interest-rate delicate sectors like housing and finance, employers have been reluctant to put off staff after struggling to seek out labor in the course of the pandemic, and in addition as a result of they’re optimistic financial situations will enhance later this 12 months.

An Institute for Supply Management report on Wednesday mentioned producers “are indicating that they aren’t going to considerably scale back head counts as they’re constructive in regards to the second half of the 12 months.”

U.S. shares opened increased. The greenback rose in opposition to a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury yields fell.


The U.S. central financial institution on Wednesday raised its coverage fee by 25 foundation factors to the 4.50%-4.75% vary, and promised “ongoing will increase” in borrowing prices.

The claims report confirmed the variety of folks receiving advantages after an preliminary week of assist, a proxy for hiring, fell 11,000 to 1.655 million in the course of the week ending Jan. 21. That partially revised the will increase logged within the prior two weeks within the so-called persevering with claims.

The claims information has no bearing on January’s employment report, scheduled for launch on Friday, because it falls outdoors the survey interval. According to a Reuters ballot of economists, nonfarm payrolls probably elevated by 185,000 jobs final month.

The economic system created 223,000 jobs in December. The unemployment fee is seen rising to three.6% from 3.5% in December.

The raft of layoffs within the know-how sector pushed up job cuts in January. A separate report on Thursday from international outplacement agency Challenger, Gray & Christmas confirmed job cuts introduced by U.S.-based employers surged 136% to 102,943. That was the best January complete since 2009.

The know-how sector accounted for 41% of the job cuts, with 41,829 layoffs. Retailers introduced 13,000 job cuts, whereas monetary corporations deliberate to put off 10,603 staff.

Despite labor market tightness, wage inflation is slowing and will proceed doing in order a 3rd report from the Labor Department confirmed employee productivity accelerating at a 3.0% annualized fee within the fourth quarter after rising at a 1.4% tempo within the third quarter.

Productivity fell at a 1.5% fee from a 12 months in the past and dropped 1.3% in 2022. But that was largely due to distortions because the economic system adjusted from the upheaval attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Productivity was up 5.1% from the fourth quarter of 2019.

As end result, unit labor prices – the value of labor per single unit of output – elevated at a 1.1% fee after rising at a 2.0% tempo within the third quarter. Though unit labor prices rose at a 4.5% fee from a 12 months in the past, they had been beneath their peak of seven.0% over the 12 months via the second quarter of 2022.

“The upshot is that, even with out a rise within the unemployment fee and with job openings suspiciously resilient, the labor market now not seems to be a major supply of inflationary strain,” mentioned Paul Ashworth, chief North America economist at Capital Economics in Toronto.

Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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