U.S. Jobless Claims Fall More than Expected

The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits decreased sharply last week, suggesting the labour situation south of the border market was holding firm despite a manufacturing slowdown and concerns the economy is on a path toward recession.

Numbers released Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 209,000 for the week ended August 17. Data for the prior week was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.

The decline was sharper than expected. Economists had forecast claims would drop to 216,000 in the latest week.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labour market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, edged up 500 to 214,500 last week.

Last week’s claims data falls during the same week the department conducts surveys used to estimate national employment during the month of August.