The U.S. labor market continues to show resilient strength even in the face of a slowing economy as fewer-than-expected American workers applied for first-time unemployment benefits.
Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department said that weekly jobless claims fell by 12,000 to 214,000, down from the previous week’s revised estimate of 228,000 claims.
The latest labor market data beat expectations. According to consensus forecasts, economists were expecting to see jobless claims to hold steady at around 229,000.
The four-week moving average for new claims – often viewed as a more reliable measure of the labor market since it flattens week-to-week volatility – rose slightly to 12,250, up by 1,250 claims from the previous week’s revised average.
Continuing jobless claims, which represent the number of people already receiving benefits, were at 1.385 million during the week ending Oct. 8, rising by 21,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The gold market is not seeing much reaction to the latest employment numbers as it holding on to modest gains but remains below critical support. December gold futures last traded at $1,638.50 anounce, up 0.26% on the day.
The reason? Rapidly rising interest rates. The Federal Reserve has lifted the cost of borrowing to squelch the highest inflation in 40 years, a strategy bound to slow the economy.
The Fed also wants to cool off a red-hot labor market to prevent wages from rising so fast as to add to inflation. The result is likely to be less hiring, more layoffs and higher unemployment.
KEY DETAILS TO KNOW:
Thirty-eight of the 53 states and U.S. territories that report jobless claims showed a decline and 15 posted an increase.
The biggest decline in new claims occurred in Florida, where they rose sharply after the hurricane as people were displaced from their jobs. Puerto Rico also reported a sharp drop in claims as it recovered from storm damage.
The only state to report a sizable increase in unemployment filings was Missouri.
US DEBT, WORLD INFLATION FIGURES:
The U.K. reported 10.1% inflation year over year for September, underscoring a difficult path ahead for the Bank of England as it also navigates a series of fiscal-policy reversals by the British government.