States reported that 213,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending Sept. 17, a slight rise after five weeks of new lows. The number of workers continuing to claim unemployment benefits—nearly 1.4 million—has been steadily rising this year but is still well below the pre-pandemic average of 1.7 million. The generally low level of jobless claims overall signifies strong labor demand as companies try to attract and retain employees.
The U.S. labor market has remained strong despite some slowing in other areas of the economy. With many businesses still experiencing worker shortages, some organizations are choosing to slow down hiring rather than conduct layoffs, economists have said. The unemployment rate in August rose to 3.7 percent from a 50-year low in July, but the increase included a surge in the number of people actively looking for work, a sign of a healthy labor market.