The total number of U.S. citizens filing for unemployment benefits was lower than most expected last week. The initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 207,000 for the week ending September 29th, according to the Labor Department.
The Labor Department did indicate that Hurricane Florence, which hit North Carolina and South Carolina last month, affected claims. The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending on September 22nd was in North Carolina. And claims in South Carolina rose by 2,830, which was the third largest rise behind Kentucky.
The forecast from economists had claims falling by 1,000 to 213,000 in the latest week on record. At this time last year, there were 265,000 new claims.
The 4-week moving average, which is considered a more reliable gauge of the labor market because it smoothes out week to week volatility, rose to 207,000. That was an increase of 500 from the previous week’s revised average.
The number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell 13,000 to 1.65 million for the week ended Sept. 22.
Claims regarding joblessness, which is an indicator for layoffs, have been watched closely because of the trade disputes happening internationally. Experts have been looking for vulnerability in the labor market. Earlier this year, economists predicted that the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration would cost 400,000 jobs. That prediction now looks very pessimistic.
The jobless claims data has no impact on the monthly employment report, which is scheduled for release on Friday. Bloomberg’s survey of economists sees non-farm payrolls likely increased by 18o,000 in September. It rose to 201,000 in August. The unemployment rate is expected to fall one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.8 percent, an 18-year low that was first hit in May.
Are you surprised by this news? Do you think it supports the efforts of the White House administration?