Numbers: The number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits fell by 217,000 last week and was the lowest level in a strong U.S. job market.
New jobless claims fell 3,000 from a revised 220,000 the previous week. The government said.
The claims still show a very low number of job losses and indicate the economy is holding steady, but businesses are hiring less and the labor market appears to be cooling slightly. The UAW car strike is complicated. It may have raised claims recently.
Economists had forecast a total of 220,000 for the week ending November 4.
Key Details: New jobless claims increased in 34 of the 53 states and territories that report these figures to the federal government. However, most increases are very small.
Claims fell in 19 states.
For the first time in 12 weeks, the number of raw or actual claims – that is, before seasonal adjustments – rose to 200,000.
Jobless claims typically rise above 300,000 and are much higher as a recession approaches.
Meanwhile, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the United States rose for the seventh week in a row to 1.83 million. This is the highest level in seven months.
A backup of so-called continuous claims could be a sign that people are taking longer to find new jobs.
Big picture: A rock-solid labor market is showing some whimper, but the unemployment rate is still very low and few companies are laying off workers. The economy’s biggest insurance policy against recession is a strong jobs market.
Looking ahead: “Initial claims still support the general labor market for expansion,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union. “Average weekly claims this year are around 227,000, and with growing third-quarter GDP, claims are unlikely to rise much this year.”
Market Reaction: Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
and the S&P 500 SPX,
Thursday opened higher in trade.