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Initial Claims for Unemployment Unchanged, Signaling ‘Fairly Tight’ Labor Market

Department of Labor

The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance held steady during the week ending on Saturday (April 27).

The total of 208,000 initial claims was unchanged from that of the previous week, which was revised up by 1,000 to 208,000, the Department of Labor (DOL) said in a Thursday (May 2) press release.

The four-week moving average of 210,000 was 3,500 lower than the previous week’s figure, which was revised up by 250 to 213,500, according to the release.

The level at which the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance held steady — 208,000 — is low and signals a “fairly tight” labor market, Reuters reported Thursday. That figure has moved in a range from 194,000 to 225,000 this year.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected the latest week’s numbers to be 4,000 higher, at 212,000.

The DOL report comes a day after human resources (HR) and payroll solution provider ADP said that nine out of 10 industry sectors it monitors posted job gains in April.

Private sector employment increased by 192,000 jobs during the month, the company said. Only the information sector posted a loss, which totaled 4,000 jobs.

The DOL reported Thursday that the states with the largest increases in initial claims during the week ending April 20 were Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, Colorado and California. Those with the largest decreases were New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Georgia and Wisconsin.

In comments supplied to the DOL, Rhode Island, which had the second highest number of initial claims, attributed its increase to layoffs in the transportation and warehousing and the accommodations and food services industries.

Massachusetts, which had the highest number of claims, did not supply comments, per the release.

New York, which had the greatest decrease in initial claims, said its drop was due to fewer layoffs in transportation and warehousing, construction, and accommodations and food services.

The DOL also reported Thursday that the insured unemployment rate was 1.2% for the week ended April 20. That was unchanged from the previous week’s rate, which was not revised, according to the release.

The insured unemployment number for the week ended April 20 was 1,774,000, unchanged from the previous week’s level that was revised down by 7,000 to 1,774,000, the release said.