First-Time Unemployment Claims Down for First Time in a Month

    For the first time in weeks, fewer Americans filed for unemployment assistance last week.

    According to statistics released by the Labor Department Thursday, some 260,000 U.S. workers filed first-time unemployment applications in the week ending Jan. 21.

    That’s down some 30,000 from the previous week, which had hit a three-month high.

    The job market had been coming back strong over the last year, culminating in dropping below a pre-pandemic average of some 220,000 per week.

    Fewer workers are continuing to claim unemployment benefits. The total – 1.6 million – is below the pre-pandemic average of 1.7 million, according to the statistics.s

    The  unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in December, its lowest level since February 2020.

    “The downtrend will likely continue given demand for labor remains strong and businesses remain reluctant to lay off workers amid a persistent labor shortage,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said in a report, according to CBS News.