Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the US, increased by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 277,000 in the week ended September 26, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Employers are retaining staff amid solid domestic demand, one reason why claims have been hovering near historically low levels even as overseas markets languish.
Claims rose more than the median forecast in Bloomberg’s survey of 48 economists, which projected claims would rise to 271,000. The moving average of claims remains at levels not previously seen since the turn of the century, during the dot-com bubble.
The number of individuals continuing to claim jobless benefits dropped over 53,000 to just over 2.19 million for the week ending September 19. Labor market conditions have stayed tight and slack is continuing to decline.
The four-week moving average was down by 1,000 to 270,750, and the previous week’s reading was an unrevised 271,750. Amid many mixed signals about the strength of the economy, jobless claims have been one of the strongest indications that the economy is still growing.
Claims were estimated for Nevada last week and otherwise there was nothing unusual in the data, according to the Labor Department.
The unemployment rate amongst people who are eligible for benefits fell by 1.6% to its lowest point since the middle of July. As such, it’s becoming increasingly hard to get excited about the overall jobless claims for the month despite levels being close to record lows.
Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, said he expects the labor market to march toward full employment by next summer and, along with the improvement, should come a long-awaited boost in wages for workers.
Data from the Labor Department on Friday night show that payrolls added 200,000 new jobs during September following a gain in August of 173,000.