WASHINGTON-The number of Americans filing for first-time jobless claims rose last week, but the total receiving state benefits is at a 15-year low.
For the week ended September 26, the Department of Labor noted that initial jobless claims are pointing to a very rare tightness in the labor market.
Employers have retained workers amidst a solid demand domestically, one reason why the claims have hovered near low of historical levels even as the markets overseas languish.
Economists had forecast a smaller increase to 272,000 claims. 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 people continuing to receive jobless benefits dropped by 53,000 to 2.19 million in the week ended September 19, the fewest since November 2000.
“This latest figure was a little worse than expectations, but the trend in the data still is sending a favorable signal regarding conditions in the labor market”, said J.P. Morgan economist Daniel Silver.
The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures. These data are reported with a one-week lag.
The four-week moving average decreases the volatility of the weekly numbers. Unemployment is expected to be flat at 5.1%. 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. Many layoffs may also reflect company- or industry-specific causes, such as cost-cutting or business restructuring, rather than underlying labor market trends. In addition, steady growth in payrolls and more job openings are helping to sustain household spending, the biggest part of the economy. They expect the unemployment rate held steady.