The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell by more than expected last week, suggesting that a sharp slowdown in reported job growth during the prior month has not derailed the strong trend in employment growth in the U.S. economy.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits shrunk by -36,000 to a seasonally adjusted 280,000 for the week ended September 13, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday. The claims were at the lowest level since July. Economists polled by Reuters News Service had forecast claims falling to only 305,000.
Employers added only 142,000 jobs to their payrolls in August, snapping six consecutive months of job increases above 200,000. The new report was revised to show +1,000 more applications received than previously reported.
The Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors or holidays influencing the state level data. Claims fell -19,000 between the August and September survey periods, suggesting payroll growth rebounded from August’s eight-month low, which most economists dismissed as a fluke, noting that payroll gains tend to be smaller in August because of problems adjusting the data for seasonal fluctuations in hiring.
The four-week moving average trend in new claims sunk back to only 299,500, a level indicating strong employment growth. The jobless claims report showed the number of people continuing to receive benefits fell -63,000 to 2.43 million, the lowest level since May of 2007.
There are still 9.6 million unemployed, or 6.1% of the workforce. Those people receiving jobless benefits fell by a tenth of a percent to 1.8%, the lowest level since November 2006.
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