Last week, the unemployment benefit application numbers stuck near a 15-year low, indicating that the layoff levels in the U.S. are very low. This shows a great improvement in the labor market compared to some years ago.
During the period stretching from the 26th April to the 2nd May, the initial job claims increased to a seasonal adjustment of 265,000 from 262,000 in the week before when the levels touched its lowest.
On Thursday, the Labor Department said that the jobless claims for a four-week average dropped by 4,250 to 279,500 marking the lowest level since May of 2000. The monthly average manages to smooth out the sharp fluctuations seen in the more unstable weekly report and is perceived as a better prediction of trends in the labor-market.
Jobless claims are usually a great indicator of layoff rates; however, they reveal less information on how many people are being hired. Employment growth in the U.S. slowed down to 126,000 in March, indicating the smallest rise in 15 months. Expectations from Wall Street however are that this will bounce back in a big way in April.
According to predictions from economists compiled by MarketWatch, the U.S. economy added likely around 233,000 jobs in the last month. There are so many economists who believe that the March slowdown in job creation could in-part be attributed to bad weather earlier in the year and expectations are that hiring will start accelerating as the warmer weather arrives.
The U.S. economy grew very little in the first quarter and another below-par April report, due for release on Friday, could increase concerns around whether or not the economy hit yet another soft patch.
On the other hand, Americans who receive regular unemployment checks on a weekly basis (known also as continuing claims), dropped by 28,000 to 2.23 million during the week that ended on the 25th April, marking it the lowest levels since November of 2000.
Although these claims reflect the number of those people who do already receive frequent unemployment checks, the do not reflect the number of unemployed workers who have already stopped looking for jobs or have exhausted benefits.