Fewer Americans Filed for Unemployment Benefits, as Claims Remain at Historic Lows

    The U.S. economy may be slowing, and the country is suffering from the highest inflation rate in decades.

    But that doesn’t seem to be having much effect on the job market because, despite all of that, the number of American workers applying for unemployment benefits fell last week.

    Jobless claims for the week ending Oct. 15 declined by 12,000 to 214,000 from 226,000 last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, leaving it at historically low levels.

    Statistics also showed the four-week moving average rose by 1,250 to 212,250.

    Applications for unemployment assistance have remained historically low since the initial purge of more than 20 million jobs at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the spring of 2020, the Associated Press reported.

    The AP reported that recent employment data suggests the job market may be cooling slightly, but overall, it remains the healthiest part of an economy that’s been shaky all year due to high inflation and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

    The government reported last week that inflation in the United States accelerated in September.

    The inflation rate, at a four-decade high, has prompted the Federal Reserve to keep raising its key interest rate, which is currently in a range of 3% to 3.25%. Fed officials have warned that the unemployment rate will likely have to rise as part of their fight against rising prices, and the most recent government jobs report likely snuffed out any hope that the Fed would pause rate increases when it meets in early November, the AP said.

    American employers slowed their hiring in September but still added 263,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped from 3.7% to 3.5%, matching a half-century low.

    The total number of Americans collecting unemployment aid rose by 21,000 to 1.39 million for the week ending Oct. 8.