WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans who filed claim requests unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting a quick labor market adjustment that reinforces expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week.
While another report showed the layoffs announced by employers based in the US. UU reaching a maximum of seven months in November, the general trend in job cuts remained low
"Layoffs by corporations are few and far between, since good help is difficult to find until now in one of the longer economic expansions in the record books, "said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell from 2,000 to 236,000, temporarily adjusted, for the week ending December 2, the Labor Department said on Thursday. It was the third consecutive weekly decline in claims.
Economists polled by Reuters had predicted that claims would increase to 240,000 in the last week. Last week marked the 144th consecutive week that claims were kept below the threshold of 300,000, which is associated with a strong labor market. That is the longest stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller.
The labor market is close to full employment, with the unemployment rate at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. It is estimated that the rigidity of the labor market will encourage the Fed to raise interest rates at the policy meeting of December 12 and 13. The central bank of the USA UU It increased borrowing costs twice this year.
U.S. Financial markets were little moved by the data as investors expected the November employment report to be published on Friday.
According to a Reuters poll of economists, nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 200,000 in November after rising 261,000 in October. Employment growth in October was driven by the return to work of thousands of employees, mainly in low-wage industries such as hospitality and retail, which had been temporarily dislodged by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The unemployment rate is forecast unchanged in November. It has been reduced by seven tenths of a percentage point this year.
An employee of the Department of Labor said that the procedures to claim continue interrupted in the Virgin Islands months after the hurricanes Irma and Maria lashed the islands. He said that claims processing in Puerto Rico had not yet returned to normal.
The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are not included in the monthly payroll report.
Last week, the four-week moving average of initial applications, considered a better measure of labor market trends, since it eliminates volatility from week to week, dropped 750 to 241,500.
"It signals a great reluctance on the part of employers to lay off workers," said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.
The claims report also showed that the number of people who received benefits after an initial week of aid fell from 52,000 to 1.91 million in the week ending on November 25. The four-week moving average of so-called continuous claims increased from 1,000 to 1.91. million.
In a separate report, the global outplacement consultant Challenger, Gray & Christmas said that employers in the US. UU They announced plans to cut payrolls at 35,038 jobs in November.
That was the highest amount in seven months and up 17 percent since October. The trend in layoffs, however, remains low. Employers announced 386,347 job cuts until November, 22 percent less than in the same period last year and the lowest since 1997.
Information from Lucia Mutikani; Edition by Andrea Ricci