CareCredit Women's Health May 2024 Banner

Weekly Jobless Claims Rise Less Than Economists Expected 

Department of Labor

The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 2,000 during the week ended Dec. 16. 

There were 205,000 initial claims filed that week, up from the revised level of 203,000 for the previous week, the Department of Labor (DOL) said in a Thursday (Dec. 21) press release

The four-week moving average of 212,000 was down by 1,500 from the previous week’s revised average, according to the release. 

The number of weekly jobless claims was smaller than expected, Reuters reported Thursday. Economists polled by the media outlet had forecast 215,000 claims for the week. 

While claims data tends to be volatile during the holiday season, these numbers remain consistent with a fairly healthy labor market, according to the report. 

This data suggests that the economy is regaining some momentum, the report said. It comes on the heels of the release of other government data showing an unexpected rise in retail sales in November and 18-month highs in the number of single-family housing starts and building permits. 

This report comes a day after The Conference Board said consumer confidence climbed in December, driven by greater optimism in consumers’ assessments of both current business and labor market conditions and those they expect to see six months from now. 

“December’s increase in consumer confidence reflected more positive ratings of current business conditions and job availability, as well as less pessimistic views of business, labor market and personal income prospects over the next six months,” Dana Peterson, chief economist at The Conference Board, said when announcing these findings. 

The DOL also reported Thursday that the insured unemployment rate was 1.3% for the week ended Dec. 9, unchanged from the previous week. The insured unemployment number for that week was 1,865,000, which was 1,000 lower than the previous week’s level, according to the press release. 

In comments supplied to the DOL, the two states with the greatest decrease in the number of initial claims filed during the week ended Dec. 9 — New York and Pennsylvania — both attributed the change to “fewer layoffs in the transportation and warehousing, construction, and accommodation and food services industries,” per the press release.