Resilient U.S. Labor Market Rebounds: Initial Claims for Unemployment Benefits at 3-Month Low
Initial claims for jobless benefits fell 1,000 to 301,000 in the week ended Jan. 19, the Labor Department said Thursday. That marked the fourth-straight weekly decline to a four-month low. Wall Street economists had expected a sharp increase of 19,000.
The four-week average of new claims tumbled 14,000 to 314,750, the lowest level since Oct. 6 (see chart above, click to enlarge).
Bottom Line: At the onset of the last two recessions (March 2001 and July 1990), initial unemployment claims were close to 400,000, and at the onset of the 1980 and 1981 recessions new claims for unemployment benefits were close to 500,000. This extremely positive news about the health of the U.S. labor market over the last month (301,000 claims) pretty much guarantees that we are not in a recession.