Jobless Claims Hold Steady

Financial concept of growth on the American Stock Exchange.Comparison exchange charts the USA and China.
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The number of Americans filing for state unemployment benefits held steady at a seasonally adjusted 227,000 last week.

Labor Department data released Thursday also revised up the previous week by 2,000 to 227,000.

Economists had forecast a decline to 217,000.

Jobless claims can be volatile. To get a better gauge of the health of the labor market, economists look to the four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out the lumpiness of weekly claims. This rose by 3,500 to 221,000.

Despite being elevated above the very low levels seen earlier this year, jobless claims remain very low. They are seen as a proxy for layoffs and so the low levels indicate that employers are hanging on to workers despite a slowdown in economic growth and a slowdown in the manufacturing sector.

The strength of the labor market is a crucial factor in ongoing economic growth. Ample jobs and low levels of layoffs supports high levels of consumer confidence and consumer spending, which accounts for around 80 percent of the economy.

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