The US Labor Department reported on Thursday that jobless claim applications fell to 187,000 for the week ending January 13; a decline of 16,000 claims from the previous week. This is the lowest level of applications for unemployment benefits reported since September 2022.
On a four-week average, jobless claims fell by 4,750 to 203,250; the lowest four-week average in almost a year. With weekly unemployment claims being viewed as a gauge for layoffs in a given week, the US labor market has remained unexpectedly strong despite steep interest rates and elevated inflation.
Although economists broadly expected the US economy to slip into a recession in late 2023, this was ultimately not the case, with the labor market remaining strong. The national unemployment has remained below 4% for 23 consecutive months; the longest streak since the 1960s.