A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits dipped from an upwardly revised level in the week ended February 6th but came in above expectations.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims edged down to 793,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 812,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 757,000 from the 779,000 originally reported for the previous week.
The report said the less volatile four-week moving average also slid to 823,000, a decrease of 33,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 856,500.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also decreased by 145,000 to 4.545 million in the week ended January 30th.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell to 4,748,750, a decrease of 157,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 4,906,250.
“Additional fiscal stimulus and broader vaccine diffusion will eventually allow the labor market to heal,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.
She continued, “But as the January employment data showed, current conditions are still quite weak and declines in new jobless claims are likely to occur only gradually in the near term.”
Last Friday, the Labor Department released a separate report showing a modest rebound in U.S. employment in the month of January.
T he report said non-farm payroll employment edged up by 49,000 jobs in January after plunging by a revised 227,000 jobs in December.
Economists had expected employment to rise by about 50,000 jobs compared to the loss of 140,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, the report also showed the unemployment rate slid to 6.3 percent in January from 6.7 percent in December. The unemployment rate was expected to come in unchanged.