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U.S. Jobless Claims Fall for the 2nd Consecutive Week

Last week, the number of Americans filing for U.S. jobless benefits dropped for the second consecutive week. This happened as labor market conditions continued to tighten.

U.S. jobless issue - Employee reviewing contract with employer

The employee reviews the contract with his employer.

The Labor Department released a report on Thursday that initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 2,000 for the week ended November 25. It fell to a seasonally adjusted 238,000.

The data shown the previous week was revised to add 1,000 more applications received than previously recounted.

Economists predicted that the number will climb to 240,000 during the latest week. The prediction included the Thanksgiving holiday that took place last Thursday. This holiday greatly influenced the claims as they tend to be volatile during shifting holidays.

The November 25 weekend marked the 143rd consecutive week where claims are still under the 300,000 threshold. This is usually tied to a strong labor market. This has been the longest string of such claims since 1970; back when then labor market was smaller.

The labor market is currently nearing full employment as the U.S. jobless rate retains its 17-year low of 4.1 percent.

According to a Labor Department official, claims-taking procedures have been interrupted continuously in the Virgin Islands, where Hurricanes Irma and Maria ruined a number of infrastructures.

The four-week moving average of early predictions rose 2,250 to 242,250 a week ago. This was thought to be a better measure of labor market trends as it finalizes week-to-week volatility.

Also according to the claims report, the number of people who continued to receive benefits past the initial week of help rose 42,000 to 1.96 million during the week ended November 18.

The four-week moving average of the continuing claims climbed 18,250 to 1.91 million.  This data contains the week of the household survey from which November’s unemployment rate is computed.

Continuing claims raised 57,000 amid the October and November survey periods. Such findings suggest that this month, there have been little changes in the U.S. jobless rate.

People VS Robots

On the other hand, a consulting firm stated that by the time 2030 comes around, as much as a third of U.S. workforce could be replaced by automation. They then added that an estimated number of 400 to 800 million people will be out of work internationally.

According to an analyst, “Even if there is enough work to ensure full employment by 2030, major transitions lie ahead that could match or even exceed the scale of historical shifts out of agriculture and manufacturing.”

The analyst then proceeded to add, “Even as it causes declines in some occupations, automation will change many more – 60 percent of occupations have at least 30 percent of constituent work activities that could be automated.”

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