Continuing Jobless Claims Remain Near 50-Year Low

Paul Ausick

New claims for unemployment benefits rose by 3,000 in the week ending September 21, according to the weekly report from the U.S. Department of Labor. The seasonally adjusted total rose from the prior week’s upwardly revised total of 210,000 to 213,000, a three-week high. Economists were expecting the total to come in at 211,000.

The week-over-week increase is likely due in large part to the autoworkers’ strike against GM. New claims in Michigan rose by 4,151 last week, where GM operates more than a dozen manufacturing plants employing tens of thousands of workers.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 1,143 last week to 174,260. In the same week last year, new claims came to 172,930. Continuing claims (adjusted) fell by 15,000 week over week to 1.65 million.

The total number of workers claiming unemployment benefits fell by 10,330 last week to 1.49 million (unadjusted).

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nonfarm payrolls rose by 130,000 in August. That was slightly below the consensus estimates of 150,000 from Dow Jones and 160,000 from Econoday. The August unemployment rate came in as expected at a very low 3.7%, flat month over month.

Even though the U.S. economy is cooling off, the labor market continues to show resilience, if not strength. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Thursday morning that its final reading of U.S. GDP growth in the second quarter was unchanged at 2%, just below a consensus estimate of 2.1%.