Mar 24, 2022
U.S. initial jobless claims decline to lowest since 1969
Applications for U.S. state unemployment insurance fell last week to the lowest since 1969 as employers desperately try to hang onto workers amid near-record job openings and depressed labor-force participation.
Initial unemployment claims decreased by 28,000 to 187,000 in the week ended March 19, Labor Department data showed Thursday. The median estimate called for 210,000 applications in a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Continuing claims for state benefits dropped to 1.35 million in the week ended March 12, the lowest since 1970.
The drop in claims is consistent with a labor market in which employers are desperately trying to hang onto workers and attract new ones. Applications should stay low as the combination of dwindling savings and decades-high inflation is raising Americans’ financial incentive to work.
The level of claims is the lowest of the pandemic period, reflecting a jobs market that Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell described as being at a “tight to an unhealthy level” last week. He also cited millions of job openings and a historically low unemployment rate.
What Bloomberg Economics says...
“These measures denote heightened expectations for aggregate demand to remain significantly above aggregate supply, and a reflection of the difficulty in finding, training and attracting skilled workers.”
-- Eliza Winger, economist
On an unadjusted basis, initial claims decreased to 181,087 last week.
California, Michigan and Kentucky were states registering the biggest drops in unadjusted claims.