U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Dip To 230,000

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly declined in the week ended April 22nd, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 230,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 246,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 248,000 from the 245,000 originally reported for the previous week.

“The slow march upwards of initial claims since the beginning of the year offered some evidence that labor demand is moderating,” said Matthew Martin, U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

He added, “In recent weeks, however, the level of jobless claims as leveled off, reminding us that labor markets are still relatively tight and workers who are losing their jobs are finding it relatively easy to find work.”

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also edged down to 236,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 240,000.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also slipped by 3,000 to 1.858 million in the week ended April 15th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still rose by 10,250 to 1,836,500, reaching the highest level since the week ended December 18, 2021.

“The upward drift in continued claims since the start of the year may signal that, while layoffs remain subdued, employers are scaling back their hiring,” said Martin.

Next Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched monthly employment report for April.

Economists currently expect employment to increase by 181,000 jobs in April after jumping by 236,000 jobs in March, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.5 percent.

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