US jobless claims drop to 222,000 last week

WASHINGTON (Xinhua) – The number of initial jobless claims in the United States (US) dropped last week, according to a report released by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics on Thursday.

The number of people filing for US unemployment benefits decreased by 2,000 to 222,000 from the previous week’s revised figure in the week ending December 28, 2019, said the bureau.

Meanwhile, the previous week’s level was revised up from 222,000 to 224,000, the bureau noted.

The report also showed that the four-week moving average of initial claims, a method to iron out data volatility, increased by 4,750 to 233,250, the highest level since January 27, 2018.

Besides, the previous week’s average was revised up from 228,000 to 228,500, said the bureau.

As an important leading indicator of unemployment status in the US, a lower reading in jobless claims indicates lower overall layoffs. The reading of jobless claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, signalling a tight labour market in the US.

For a bigger picture of US labour market, US employers added 266,000 jobs in November 2019, and the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 3.5 percent, the lowest in nearly five decades, the bureau reported on December 6. The US Labour Department is scheduled to release the unemployment rate of December 2019 on January 10.