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232,000 unemployment claims hit two-month low

Weekly U.S. jobless claims fall to 232,000

First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell to their lowest level since late June last week. This shows the resilience of the labor market in the face of economic slowdown.

The number of seasonally adjusted claims for the week ended Aug. 27 was 232,000, down 5,000 from the previous period and the lowest since June 25, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones were looking for 245,000.

Recurring claims increased to 1.44 million, an increase of 26,000 from previous levels of data running one week behind the headline figure.

The figure comes a day earlier than August’s high-profile nonfarm payrolls report, but falls outside the survey week used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for counting. Wall Street expects reports to show his notoriously volatile August job gains totaling 318,000.

Amid fears that the US is slipping into recession, the job market is providing a bulwark showing strong job demand and consumer spending holding up despite soaring inflation.

Earlier this week, the BLS reported that vacancies topped 11.2 million, outstripping available workers by just a half. The private sector added just 132,000 jobs in August, according to Wednesday data from payroll processing firm ADP, but most economists so far maintain their projections for solid growth for the month. doing.

The Federal Reserve has attempted to close the employment gap and slow inflation through a series of aggressive rate hikes. Despite these moves, inflation remains near its highest level in more than 40 years.

Over the past few days, multiple Fed officials have indicated that interest rate action is likely to continue. In a speech Wednesday, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said the Fed rate, which is the benchmark banks use for overnight lending but is also tied to many consumer debt products, will drop to 4 by early 2023. He said he expects it to exceed 100%. 2.25%-2.5% range.

Further data released by the BLS on Thursday showed that productivity declines in the second quarter were not as steep as first reported. The revised productivity level showed a decline of 4.1%, an upward revision of 0.5 points from the initial measurement. Economists had expected a figure of -4.3%.

Unit labor costs, or rewards compared to output, rose 10.2% in the quarter, 0.4 percentage points lower than estimated. However, the 9.3% increase in four quarters is the highest since the first quarter of 1982.

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