US Labor Market Remains Robust Despite Inflation, Layoffs

The Labor Department reported Thursday that first-time applications for unemployment benefits rose last week to 196,000, 13,000 more than the previous week and about 6,000 more than economists were expecting. Initial jobless claims increased by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 196,000 last week, according to the Labor Department. A Bloomberg survey of economists predicted an average of 190,000 applications.[0]

The four-week moving average of claims, which balances out the weekly fluctuations, increased by 500 to 189,500.[1] For the past four weeks, the four-week moving average has been under 200,000. Continuing jobless claims also edged a touch higher to 1.696 million, up from 1.680 million in the prior week and topping estimates.[2]

According to the Wall Street Journal, the economists polled had predicted that the number of new claims for the week ending Feb. 11 would be 200,000.[3] The data has been adjusted for seasonal variations.[4] On Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department reported that the four-week moving average for the prior week had been revised downwards by 250, to 189,000.

Initial jobless claims were at 194K versus 200K estimate.[5] Meanwhile, continuing claims also topped estimates. Unemployment benefits have been collected by 16,000 more people, reaching a three-month peak of 1.7 million in the week ending Feb. 4.[4] Their reports are delayed by one week.[4]

A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that annual consumer prices were up 8.5 percent last month, a slower rate than the 9.1 percent figure in June.[6] A decrease of 0.5 percent in wholesale prices is an indication that inflation may be abating.[6]

Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, declared on Tuesday that interest rates will continue to be increased as long as it takes to control the unprecedented inflation.[7] Although the measures taken by the central bank have resulted in a decrease in business investment and rendered certain aspects of the housing market immobile, the US labor market still remains robust.[8]

Overall, the US labor market remains robust despite widely publicized layoffs from tech giants, media companies and the financial sector in recent weeks.[7] To combat inflation that has reached 40-year highs, the Federal Reserve has increased rates by 2.25 percent.[6] Tech, healthcare and finance industries are also continuing to experience growth and investing opportunities.

0. “US Jobless Claims Pick Up for the First Time in Six Weeks” Bloomberg, 9 Feb. 2023,

1. “Jobless applications fall again despite Fed push on rates” Toledo Blade, 16 Feb. 2023,

2. “U.S. weekly jobless claims unexpectedly fall; PPI accelerates By”, 16 Feb. 2023,

3. “U.S. weekly jobless claims drop by 1k to 194000, gold price falls” Kitco NEWS, 16 Feb. 2023,

4. “U.S. jobless claims stay below 200,000 for fifth straight week: Labor market still healthy” MarketWatch, 16 Feb. 2023,

5. “Initial jobless claims unexpectedly falls in last week” Seeking Alpha, 16 Feb. 2023,

6. “Jobless claims rise again to highest level since November” The Hill, 11 Aug. 2022,

7. “Are more Americans filing for unemployment? – KNBN NewsCenter1”, 9 Feb. 2023,

8. “Weekly jobless claims edged up last week, but the labor market remains robust” CNN, 9 Feb. 2023,