The number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell again last week, setting a new three-month low and showing that employers are still reluctant to let go of workers despite some economic slowing.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance were 213,000 for the week ended September 10, down 5,000 from a downwardly revised total of 218,000 claims from the prior week, according to Labor Department data released Thursday. That is the lowest level since May 28.
Economists were anticipating weekly initial filings of 226,000, according to Refinitiv estimates.
Continuing jobless claims for the week ended September 3 were 1.4 million, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s level, which was revised downward by 72,000 claims.
The nation’s labor market has remained strong despite some slowing in other areas of the economy. Since March, the Federal Reserve has tightened monetary policy and enacted a succession of interest rate hikes aimed at curbing demand and stamping out historically high inflation.
Those efforts are expected to bring some economic “pain,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said, indicating that the labor market is in a state of imbalance with the number of available jobs still at double the amount of job seekers.
With many businesses experiencing worker shortages, some firms are opting to slow down hiring plans rather than cutting loose existing workers, economists for regional Federal Reserve banks have noted.