The latest U.S. weekly jobless claims report showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits went down this week. This unexpected decline indicates that the job market has remained strong despite the failure of two major regional banks.
Weekly jobless claims for the week ended March 18 declined by 1,000 to 191,000, beating an estimate of 197,000 given by economists polled by Reuters. This represents a strong labor market, with unemployment remaining low even by historical standards despite the ongoing banking crisis as well as mass layoffs by big tech companies.
Although Indiana and Massachusetts saw an increase in unemployment claim filings, declines in California, Illinois, and New York offset this rise.
Despite the labor market exhibiting sustained strength, the Federal Reserve is set to maintain its tight fiscal policy as sustained inflation continues to pose an issue in the face of the banking crisis.
“The events of the last two weeks are likely to result in some tightening of credit conditions for households and businesses, and thereby weigh on demand on the labor market and inflation,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell told reporters after the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting on March 22.