States reported that 192,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending Feb. 18, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The number of workers continuing to claim unemployment benefits fell to 1.65 million, which is considered normal.
Unemployment claims have consistently held at low levels, even as layoffs have accelerated, primarily in the technology sector. Some laid-off workers are likely finding new jobs quickly or are delaying filing for benefits because of severance packages.
The labor market overall remains resilient despite Federal Reserve efforts to raise interest rates in an attempt to bring down inflation. There were 11 million open jobs at the end of December, or 1.9 jobs for every unemployed person, and the unemployment rate for January was an historically low 3.4 percent.