Unemployment claims fall between 23,000 and 216,000, while recent peak appears to be a false alarm


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The US economy still produces a lot of new jobs and layoffs remain low, even if they are not as low as they were last fall.

Numbers: The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in mid-February dropped sharply and almost returned to the lowest after the recession, suggesting that the US labor market is still dynamic and keeping the economy on track. solid foundations.

Unemployment claims, an approximate measure of layoffs, declined from 23,000 to 216,000 seasonally adjusted in the seven days ended February 16, the government said Thursday.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected 229,000 claims.

The average of four weeks of new jobless claims, meanwhile, increased from 4,000 to 235,750 and reached its highest level in 13 months. The monthly average is considered to be more stable since it reduces weekly gyrations, but will decrease over the next few weeks to more recent norms.

The number of people already receiving unemployment benefits, known as continuous claims, has decreased from 55,000 to 1.73 million. They fell below 2 million almost two years ago and remain close to the lowest levels in decades.

What happened: New claims have reached a maximum of one and a half years with 253,000 claims compared to last month, compared to 200,000 at the beginning of January. However, the increase now seems to reflect the usual gyrations after the holidays, when firms fired temporary workers and returned to normal employment levels.

Initial claims were slightly lower last week, both gross and seasonally adjusted, compared to the same week a year earlier.

Big picture: The United States continues to add new jobs quickly to keep the unemployment rate near the lowest level in decades. A tight labor market also forces companies to pay more for their employees.

Although the number of claims for compensation has increased slightly from the lowest level in 50 years, it remains extremely low and suggests that the labor market remains quite healthy.

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What they say: "In the end, layoffs in the private sector remain minimal. The survey results suggest that employers are generally struggling to fill their positions and are therefore not particularly inclined to fire the workers they currently hold. – Thomas Simons, chief money market economist at Jefferies.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.31%

and S & P 500

SPX, -0.40%

should open a little lower in Thursday's trades, as manufacturers' confidence in the Philadelphia area has turned negative.

The 10-year Treasury yield

TMUBMUSD10Y, + 1.56%

was flat at 2.67%.


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