U.S. Jobless Claims Applications Fall as Labor Market Remains Tight

Signage for a job fair is seen on 5th Avenue after the release of the jobs report in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., September 3, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

 The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week fell to the lowest level in three weeks, as the labor market remained tight.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 10,000 to 230,000 for the week ending Aug. 19, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.

The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 claims, according to official data.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, a less volatile measure, rose by 2,250 to 236,750.

Continuing claims, which include those who have received benefits for longer than one week, edged down to 1.7 million for the week ending Aug. 12.

The figure was about 9,000 fewer than the previous week, and down from a high of 1.86 million in mid-April.

Applications for jobless aid reached a higher level above 260,000 for a few weeks this spring, raising some concern, but then receded.

Early this month, the government reported that U.S. employers added 187,000 jobs in July, fewer than expected, but still a reflection of a healthy labor market. The unemployment rate decreased to 3.5 percent, close to a half-century low.

The latest jobless claims report “broadly showcases a labor market that has remained strong and is supporting renewed momentum in the economy,” Bloomberg said.

“Employers are still hiring at a healthy pace, and the wave of layoffs that made headlines earlier this year seems to be abating,” it said.