U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Drop To 209000

Marco Green
July 12, 2019

(Kitco News) - Initial weekly USA jobless claims fell by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 209,000 in the week to Saturday, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.

The prior week's claims were revised up to 221,000.

The four-week average, a less-volatile measure, fell to 219,250 from 222,500. Economists had expected claims to rise to 223,000.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says before the Senate Banking Committee that very low unemployment rates no longer necessarily push up inflation.

For a bigger picture of the U.S. labor market, American employers added 224,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate edged up to 3.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The Labor Department said no claims were estimated last week. Companies carry out the plant closures at different times, which can throw off the model the government uses to strip out seasonal fluctuations from the data.

Fed officials are scheduled to meet on July 30-31.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, testifying for a second day before Congress, is delivering the same message: that the central bank is prepared to cut interest rates to support the economy, raising hopes that the first reduction in its key policy rate in a decade could happen later this month.

In his opening comments, Powell says that "uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the US economic outlook". The economy is also slowing as last year's massive stimulus from tax cuts and more government spending fades. While the unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.7%, that was because more people entered the labor market, a sign of confidence in their employment prospects.

The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 209,000, a decrease of 13,000 from the previous week's revised level of 222,000.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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