New claims for unemployment benefits in the week that ended May 20 came in at 229,000, an increase of 4,000 from the downwardly revised estimate for the previous week.
Economists had forecast around 250,000 jobless claims. The previous week’s level was revised down by 17,000 from 242,000 to 225,000, showing that claims have been lower than previously thought. The revised figure shows claims dropped to the lowest level in 10 weeks in the week that ended May 13.
Massachusetts has said that it detected a high level of fraudulent claims and lowered its estimates significantly.
The four-week moving average of claims, which smoothes out week-to-week volatility, was 231,750, unchanged from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 12,500 from 244,250 to 231,750.
The low level of claims indicates that the labor market is not cooling off as rapidly as some analysts had thought. This could bolster the argument of those on the Federal Reserve who want to keep raising rates this year to fend off inflation.
Continuing claims get reported with a week’s delay. During the week ending May 13, these fell to 1,794,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 1,799,000. The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell to 1,800,250, a decrease of 12,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 1,812,500
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