The US job market is on fire. There are many more jobs available than workers and the latest data on initial weekly jobless claims underscores this imbalance.
Initial jobless claims fell to 166,000 in the week ended April 2, adjusted for seasonal fluctuations, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That was far fewer than the roughly 200,000 claims economists had predicted. It also corresponds to the number of first applications for the week ended March 19, which was the lowest level since November 1968, after revisions.
The four-week average of first requests is now 170,000, after a series of adjustments by the DOL.
“We’ve seen significant revisions to this week’s initial and continuing claims numbers due to both the usual annual revisions and a change in the seasonal adjustment process,” said Mike Englund, chief economist at Action. Economics.
The Labor Department announced changes to its methodology on Thursday.
At the start of the pandemic, the department changed the way it calculated its seasonal adjustments, because fluctuations in the data were so massive that the old way of doing things only distorted the data further.
But now that jobless claims have fallen back to levels seen before Covid-19 arrived, the department is changing its methodology back to what it was before the pandemic. That’s why there were so many adjustments to Thursday’s numbers.
“The new data reveals a more pronounced downward trend in initial claims across [the first quarter] but a less aggressive downward trend in continuing claims,” Englund said.
Continuing jobless claims, which count people who applied for benefits for at least two consecutive weeks, stood at 1.5 million in the week ended March 26, little change from the previous week.
The data reflects the tight U.S. labor market, including the millions of jobs available across the country and an unemployment rate that just hit a new pandemic-era low of 3.6%. Two years after the economy came to a halt due to the first wave of coronavirus and millions lost their jobs, the employment situation in the country is now characterized by a shortage of workers.
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia company. All rights reserved.