The number of initial claims for unemployment benefits filed during the week ended Saturday (Jan. 13) was the lowest since Sept. 24, 2022.
The number fell to 187,000 during the week ended Saturday, a total that was 16,000 lower than the previous week’s revised level of 203,000, the Department of Labor said in a Thursday (Jan. 18) press release.
Two states that were among those with the greatest decreases in initial claims told the DOL that they had seen fewer layoffs in the transportation and warehousing industry, according to the release.
The four-week moving average was 203,250, down 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 208,000, the release said.
The drop in initial claims was unexpected, Bloomberg reported Thursday. The number was lower than that expected by any of the economists surveyed by the media outlet.
Weekly claims tend to be volatile around the holidays, but the four-week moving average suggests layoffs remain low and the job market continues to defy economists’ expectations in the face of high interest rates, according to the report.
The states with the largest decreases in initial claims during the week ended Jan. 6 were New Jersey (4,044 fewer), Massachusetts (3,341 fewer), Connecticut (2,896 fewer), Iowa (1,847 fewer) and Pennsylvania (1,566 fewer), according to Thursday’s DOL press release.
In comments supplied to the DOL, both Iowa and Pennsylvania reported fewer layoffs in the transportation and warehousing industry, the release said.
Iowa also saw fewer initial claims in manufacturing, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, while Pennsylvania reported fewer layoffs in accommodations, food services and construction, per the release. The three states with the biggest drops in initial claims did not comment on their experiences.
The state with the largest increase in initial claims during the week was New York, with 20,535, according to the release. California and Texas both reported more than 9,000 additional claims during the week.
Both New York and Texas said layoffs in the transportation and warehousing industry contributed to the rise in their states, per the release. New York also noted increased unemployment in the construction and information sectors, while Texas pointed to manufacturing, healthcare and social assistance. California did not comment on its results.
The DOL also reported Thursday that the insured unemployment rate was 1.2% for the week ended Jan. 6. That was unchanged from the previous week’s rate.
The insured unemployment number for the week ended Jan. 6 was 1,806,000, which was 26,000 fewer than the previous week’s revised level of 1,832,000.
It was reported Sunday (Jan. 14) that fewer economists expect to see a recession in the next year than expected one last year.