Applications for U.S. state unemployment insurance dropped last week by more than estimated, continuing an overall downward trajectory as the labor market bounced back.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor.
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Initial unemployment claims dropped by more than 17,000 to 232,000 in the week ended February 19. The average median estimate for applications was 235,000.
Continuing claims for state benefits dropped to 1.48 million in the week ended February 12. The plunge in claims is in line with a labor market that’s back on track after the Omicron variant surged last month.
On an unadjusted basis, initial claims dropped more than 214,873 last week.
Some of the states that reported outsized surges in the prior period, including Missouri and Ohio, dropped notably last week.
Meanwhile, the jobless claims data signals the tightness of the labor market, which has been noticeable in job openings.