markets

U.S. Jobless Claims Rise From Lowest in Almost 45 Years

Updated on

U.S. filings for unemployment benefits increased a week after plunging to the lowest level since 1973, underscoring a still historically tight jobs market, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of Jobless Claims (Week Ended Jan. 20)

  • Jobless claims increased by 17k to 233k (est. 235k)
  • Continuing claims fell by 28k to 1.937m in week ended Jan. 13 (data reported with one-week lag)
  • Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, dropped to 240,000 from the prior week’s 243,500

Key Takeaways

Even with the weekly rise, claims remain near historic lows, indicating employers are reluctant to pare headcount as they struggle to find skilled workers from an ever-shrinking pool. For more than two years, applications for jobless benefits have been in healthy territory below the 300,000 level.

A tight labor market is not lost on corporate leaders. Brian Moynihan, chief executive officer of Bank of America Corp., said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that a 4.1 percent unemployment rate meant the “reality of bringing a lot of jobs back is difficult. Where are the people to do the work?”

Other Details

  • Prior week’s reading was revised to 216,000 from 220,000
  • Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at to 1.4 percent
  • Claims were estimated for Maine
(Updates with details starting in Highlights box.)
    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE