New York: Applications for US unemployment insurance fell for the first time in three weeks, suggesting demand for labor remains healthy.
Initial unemployment claims decreased by 2,000 to 250,000 in the week ended August 13, Labor Department data showed Thursday. The date is particularly scrutinized because it corresponds with the reference period for the government’s August employment report, which will be released early next month.
The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 264,000 applications.
Continuing claims for state benefits climbed to 1.44 million in the week ended August 6.
The drop in jobless claims points to still-healthy labor demand as companies try to attract and retain employees amid lingering worker shortages. However, several employers have been laying off staff or freezing hiring amid economic uncertainty, which could continue as the Federal Reserve pursues an aggressive path of interest-rate hikes.