Downward U.S. Jobless Claims Trend Stalls Out – The Wall Street Journal
A recent downward trend in worker filings for jobless benefits stalled in mid-June amid other signs the labor market continues to gradually recover.
The Labor Department reported Thursday that initial unemployment claims, a proxy for layoffs, moved slightly lower last week to a seasonally adjusted 411,000 from an upwardly revised 418,000 the prior week, when claims rose. The four-week average for claims, which smooths out volatility in the weekly figures, rose slightly off a pandemic low to 397,750.
While last week’s initial claims were higher than projected and claims overall remain above pre-pandemic levels, their downward trajectory, along with a pickup in hiring, a declining unemployment rate and optimistic consumer sentiment, points to gains for the U.S. labor market.
Claims are down sharply from the depths of the Covid-19-induced downturn during 2020, and are hovering at levels half of what they were in January this year. Weekly claims totals are down more than 40% from the 742,000 total posted the week ended April 3.
“The overall trend is in the right direction,” said Jordan van Rijn, senior economist at the Credit Union National Association. “Right now, there’s a lot of demand for labor out there and it’s the workers that are a little more in the driver’s seat,” he added.