Numbers: The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week fell slightly to 217,000 and remained at very low levels typical of a strong US jobs market.
New unemployment claims fell by 3,000 from a revised 220,000 the previous week. The government said.
Claims still show a very low number of job losses and indicate that the economy is stable, but companies are hiring fewer and the labor market appears to have slowed slightly. One complication is the UAW’s automatic strike. Claims may have been inflated recently.
Economists had expected new claims in the week ending November 4 to reach 220,000.
Key details: New unemployment claims rose in 34 of the 53 states and territories that reported the numbers to the federal government. However, most increases were very small.
Claims decreased in 19 states.
The number of initial or actual claims – that is, before seasonal adjustments – exceeded 200,000 claims for the first time in 12 weeks.
Unemployment claims typically rise above 300,000 and eventually rise much higher when a recession approaches.
Meanwhile, the number of people receiving unemployment benefits in the United States rose for the seventh straight week to 1.83 million. This is the highest level in seven months.
A backup in so-called continuing claims could be a sign that people are taking longer to find new jobs.
The Big Picture: The solid labor market shows some gaps, but the unemployment rate remains very low, and only a few companies are laying off workers. A strong jobs market is an economy’s biggest insurance policy against a recession.
I look forward: “Initial claims continue to support a typically expanding jobs market,” said corporate economist Robert Frick of Marine Federal Credit Union. “The average weekly claims this year are about 227,000, and given the boom in GDP in the third quarter, claims are unlikely to rise much this year.”
Market reaction: Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
and Standard & Poor’s 500 SPX,
It is scheduled to open trading higher on Thursday.
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