U.S. jobless claims rise one week after dropping to 45-year low

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American workers are keeping busy amid a rip-roaring labor market.

The numbers: Initial U.S. jobless claims rose by 13,000 to 233,000 in the seven days ended Jan. 20. below the 240,000 forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch.

The more stable monthly average of claims fell by 3,500 to 240,000, the government said Thursday.

What happened: New claims for unemployment benefits rose modestly one week after falling to the lowest level since 1973. Claims tend to be volatile in January due to winter weather, a pair of holidays and the end of the Christmas holiday shopping season, when many companies add and later drop temporary employees.

Big picture: The U.S. labor market hasn’t been this good at least since the end of the Clinton presidency. Layoffs are extremely low and so is the unemployment rate. Worker wages are even beginning to rise as companies compete harder for workers, a trend that could be aided by recent tax cuts that make it easier for firms to afford pay raises.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average












DJIA, +0.16%










and S&P 500 index












SPX, -0.06%










were both set to open higher in Thursday trades.



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