“Fears of widespread layoffs have yet to materialize,” said Mahir Rasheed, a US economist at Oxford Economics in New York.
“Even so, we doubt claims will accelerate sharply as labor demand remains well above labor supply, while the outlook for the economy remains relatively positive despite heightened uncertainty over the inflation and growth.
Initial claims for state jobless benefits fell by 2,000, to a seasonally adjusted figure of 250,000, in the week ending August 13.
The previous week’s data was revised to show 10,000 fewer claims than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 265,000 claims for the latest week.
Last week’s sharp revision and modest decline pushed claims well below the 270,000-300,000 range that economists say would signal a major labor market slowdown.
Unadjusted claims fell by 4,536 to 191,834 last week. An increase in applications in Massachusetts was offset by notable declines in California, Ohio, Texas and Georgia.
Firms in the interest rate-sensitive housing and technology sectors have been laying off workers in response to slowing demand triggered by the Federal Reserve’s aggressive monetary policy tightening campaign to control inflation. .