New U.S. Jobless Claims Decline 15,000 to 202,000

New U.S. jobless claims at the end of January slip close to a post-recession low, signaling that the U.S. labor market is still rock solid, in spite of strong economic headwinds.

The initial jobless claims slipped by 15,000 to 202,000 in seven days ended on Feb. 1, the government said Thursday. The statistics are seasonally adjusted and the economists had forecast a 215,000 reading, as per marketwatch.

More stable monthly average of the jobless claims that filters out the weekly ups and downs, declines by 3,000 to 211,750. New unemployment applications are seen as a rough measure of how many people are losing their jobs. They touched a 50 year low of 193,000 in April 2019, and have hovered in the low 200,000s since then.

The raw jobless claims surged the most in New York and Pennsylvania and recorded biggest drop in California, New Jersey and Michigan. In all these states jobless claims were extremely at low level.

Meanwhile, the number of people, who are already collecting the unemployment benefits increased by 48,000 to 1.75 million.

With the creation of more than 20 million new jobs in the past decade has slashed unemployment to a 50-year low of 3.5%, giving the economy a strong foundation to prolong a record expansion that will turn 11 years old in June.

Although in U.S. the hiring has slowed, but is still adding more than enough jobs to beat the unemployment rate even lower. U.S. economy likely created 164,000 new jobs in the first month of 2020, economists forecast. January jobs report comes out on Friday morning.

The nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 160,000 jobs in January, after increasing 145,000 in December, according to a Reuters survey of economists. And the employment gains could, however, exceed the expectations given unseasonably mild weather, that could have accelerated the hiring at construction sites and in the leisure and hospitality industry.

ADP National Employment report on Wednesday also showed the private payrolls soared by 291,000 jobs in January, the most since May 2015, after increasing 199,000 in December.