Jobless Claims Fall Again as U.S. Labor Market Shows No Strains from Tariffs or Trade Disputes

NAUGATUCK, CT - MAY 28: A man waves an American flag during the annual Memorial Day Parade on May 28, 2018 in Naugatuck, Connecticut. Across America, towns and cities will be remembering those who lost their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Memorial Day is a federal …
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Despite fears that trade disputes and tariffs could weigh on the U.S. economy, there are no signs they are costing U.S. jobs.

Filings for unemployment benefits, which are a proxy for layoffs, fell for the second consecutive week last week to near record lows.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 212,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

The continued low level of unemployment claims contrasts sharply with media reports and anecdotal evidence that some companies are laying off workers as a result of tariffs. The data just do not support that idea.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a more reliable gauge of labor market conditions because it smooths out week-to-week volatility, rose 1,000 last week to 215,500.

The claims report also showed the number of continuing claims, representing people who have been unemployed for more than one week, dropped 39,000 to 1.72 million for the week ended Aug. 4. The four-week moving average fell 8,000 to 1.74 million.

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