U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Drop More Than Expected To 847,000

A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed a continued pullback in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended January 23rd.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell to 847,000, a decrease of 67,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 914,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 875,000 from the 900,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Jobless claims declined for the second consecutive week after reaching a more than four-month high of 927,000 in the week ended January 9th.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average rose to 868,000, an increase of 16,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 851,750.

“Initial jobless claims were lower than expected last week but remain elevated, with total claims for regular and [Pandemic Unemployment Assistance] benefits coming in at 1.3 million,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

She added, “Additional fiscal stimulus and broader vaccine diffusion should support an improved labor market in the spring, but claims are expected to remain high in the near term as the pandemic continues to restrict activity, with new strains of the virus a concern.”

The report showed continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, slid by 203,000 to 4.771 million in the week ended January 16th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also fell to 4,998,000, a decrease of 106,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 5,104,750.

Next Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched report on the employment situation in the month of January.

Economists currently expect employment to rise by 85,000 jobs in January after falling by 140,000 jobs in December. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 8.7 percent.

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