U.S. Jobless Claims Remain Low, Planned Layoffs Decline

Washington, Dhu-AlQa’dah 29, 1437, Sep 1, 2016, SPA — The number of people filing initial applications for U.S. state unemployment benefits rose slightly last week but remained near historic low levels, the government reported Thursday, pointing to sustained labor-market strength.
A second report, by a consulting firm, showed planned layoffs by U.S.-based employers decreased 29 percent in August.
The Labor Department said jobless claims fell 2,000 to 263,000 last week. It was the 78th consecutive week that claims remained below the 300,000 level associated with an improving jobs market, the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller.
The four-week moving average of jobless claims—a better measure of labor-market trends because it smoothes weekly volatility—fell 1,000 to 263,000 last week.
With the labor market nearing full employment, there likely is limited room for further declines in jobless claims, economists say.
Meanwhile, consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas said employers in the United States announced plans to cut 32,188 workers from their payrolls in August, down sharply from 45,346 in July.
The computer sector dominated planned layoffs last month, with Cisco Systems announcing plans to reduce its workforce by 5,500. There also were layoffs in the energy, industrial-goods, and entertainment and leisure sectors.
The jobless-claims and layoffs data comes one day ahead of the government’s job-creation report for August, which economists believe will show a gain of 180,000 positions following a jump of 255,000 in July. The unemployment rate is forecast to fall 0.1 percentage point to 4.8 percent.
–SPA
17:46 LOCAL TIME 14:46 GMT