Numbers: The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week fell slightly to 217,000 and remained at very low levels typical of a strong U.S. labor market.
New jobless claims fell by 3,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 220,000, the government said.
Reports still show very few job losses and indicate the economy is stable, but businesses are hiring less and the job market appears to have cooled a bit. One of the complications was the UAW auto strike. This may have inflated claims lately.
Economists forecast a total of 220,000 new claims for the week ending November 4.
Key details: New jobless claims increased in 34 of the 53 states and territories that report these figures to the federal government. Most increases, however, have been very small.
Losses declined in 19 states.
The number of raw or real claims, that is to say before seasonal adjustment, exceeded 200,000 for the first time in 12 weeks.
Jobless claims typically exceed 300,000 and end up rising much higher as a recession approaches.
In the United States, the number of people receiving unemployment benefits increased for the seventh straight week, reaching 1.83 million. This is the highest level in seven months.
The increase in these so-called continuing applications could be a sign that it is taking people longer to find a new job.
Big picture: A rock-solid job market has some flaws, but the unemployment rate remains extremely low and few companies are laying off workers. A strong job market is the economy’s best insurance against a recession.
Looking forward: “The initial claims still support a job market typical of an expansion,” said business economist Robert Frick of Navy Federal Credit Union. “This year, the average weekly claims is around 227,000, and given the surge in GDP in the third quarter, it is unlikely that claims will increase much this year.”
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
and S&P 500 SPX,
are expected to open higher on Thursday.