Unemployment claims better than expected last week and lowest in two months

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Weekly jobless claims fell slightly less than expected last week, although US employment growth remains sluggish.

Initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ended Jan. 30 were 779,000, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. That was below the estimate of 830,000 by economists polled by Dow Jones.

This was the lowest claims week since November 28 as the U.S. economy slowly recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The total is a decrease of 33,000 compared to the downward revised figure of 812,000 in the previous week.

The ongoing receivables also continued to decline, falling by 193,000 to 4.6 million compared to the previous week. At the beginning of May 2020, the peak in the pandemic for continued claims was 24.9 million. The data on ongoing claims is one week behind the first claims.

In addition, the number of beneficiaries fell sharply, dropping by almost half a million to 17.8 million. This reflects a continued decline in those receiving pandemic program benefits, which was slightly offset by those with enhanced benefits.

With unemployment still high, the Biden government is working on a plan to enforce additional incentive controls for Americans, as well as improved compensation.

Last week’s decline in claims was mostly due to a decrease of more than 55,000 in Illinois, although much of that decrease was offset by a gain of more than 46,000 in California, according to unadjusted numbers.

The report comes ahead of the Ministry of Agriculture’s payroll release on Friday. The Dow Jones estimate for this sum is 50,000, with the unemployment rate constant at 6.7%.

Although the labor force recovery has a long way to go, there have been some encouraging signs of late. ISM manufacturing and services reports showed companies are hiring workers, while ADP’s private payrolls, released Wednesday, showed better-than-expected growth of 174,000.

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