Initial jobless claims in the United States fell to 217,000 last week, after rising in the previous two weeks amid a slowing economy, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday.
In the week ending Nov. 4, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 220,000, according to a report released by the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The four-week moving average for initial jobless claims, a method to iron out data volatility, increased by 1,500 to 212,250, the report showed.
Overall, jobless claims have been on a declining trend since summer, indicating robust economic growth and labor market resilience. But data in recent weeks showed that the labor market is moderating.
October saw the United States add 150,000 jobs, according to data released last week. That’s roughly half the previous month’s gain of 297,000 jobs, and raises the question whether a hiring slowdown is coming.
October recorded the weakest gains since June, at a time when 33,000 workers in the auto industry remained on the payroll due to ongoing strikes.
Desmond Lachman, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a former official at the International Monetary Fund, told Xinhua: “There has been a marked slowing in new jobs created.”
The weaker-than-expected jobs numbers in October “suggest that the labor market is softening in a way that should please the Federal Reserve,” Lachman said.