Unemployment claims remain low

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The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits showed no change last week, maintaining historically low levels. This trend is another indicator of the robust state of the U.S. job market, even in the face of higher interest rates.

According to the Labor Department’s report on Thursday, unemployment claims remained steady at 209,000 for the week ending October 7. The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out week-to-week fluctuations, decreased by 3,000 to 206,250.

These numbers, which serve as a gauge for layoffs, continue to underscore the high job security experienced by American workers.

When the Federal Reserve initiated interest rate hikes last year to curb rising consumer prices, many economists anticipated the possibility of the United States slipping into a recession. However, the economy and job market have remained resilient, even as higher rates have gradually brought down inflation from the four-decade highs seen in 2022. The combination of diminishing inflationary pressures and strong hiring is fostering optimism that the Fed can achieve a “soft landing” – taming inflation without triggering an economic downturn.

Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, noted, “Overall, layoffs remain low, and demand for workers remains strong. Even as the Fed has taken aggressive action to soften labor market conditions, businesses are not shedding workers at a rapid pace.”

In total, 1.7 million people were receiving unemployment benefits in the week ending September 30, marking an increase of 30,000 from the previous week.