US weekly jobless claims stay low despite high-profile layoff announcements

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly more than expected last week, pointing to underlying labor market strength despite a recent surge in announced layoffs, mostly in the technology industry.

The report from the Labor Department on Thursday also showed unemployment rolls shrinking a bit in late January after swelling to a two-month high earlier.

Labor market resilience is underpinning the economy, and the latest claims readings suggested that the strong economic growth momentum from the fourth quarter continued in early 2024, potentially delaying an anticipated interest rate cut this year.

“The basic message from today’s report is not only are there not enough job losses to point to a recession, there are no significant job losses to see at all,” said Christopher Rupkey, chief economist at FWDBONDS in New York.


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