Us jobless claims fall for fourth week the Labour market remains strong

New claims for unemployment benefits fell to a five-week low last week, in another sign that the us Labour market is holding firm ahead of Friday’s monthly non-farm payrolls data.

New claims for us unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 to 214,000 in the week to January 4, according to figures released by the Labour department on Thursday, less than economists surveyed had expected. The low-volatility four-week average fell to 224,000.

New claims for unemployment benefits fell for a fourth straight week, the longest stretch since April, confirming signs of strength in the Labour market. Companies are more reluctant to let people go when vacancies are high and it is difficult to hire talented and experienced staff.

While the latest data show a healthy labor market, claims for unemployment benefits have increased in recent months after falling to their lowest level since 1969 in April.

The data comes a day ahead of December’s non-farm payrolls report. Non-farm payrolls are expected to rise by 165,000 and the unemployment rate remains at a half-century low of 3.5 per cent.

Economists previously surveyed expected initial claims to have fallen to 220,000 last week.

Robin Bell

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