By Bryan Mena

U.S. applications for unemployment benefits declined slightly last week to their lowest level since April 2022, showing the labor market broadly remains tight as several companies announce job cuts.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, fell by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 183,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week moving average of weekly claims, which smooths out volatility, fell to 191,750. In 2019, when the labor market also was tight, claims averaged about 220,000 a week.

Claims have remained historically low in recent months as some large companies made layoff announcements, mostly in sectors such as real estate, technology and finance. Though layoffs are starting to spread beyond those sectors, which had bulked up their staffs earlier in the pandemic.

The claims report showed continuing claims, which reflect the number of people seeking ongoing unemployment benefits, ticked down by 11,000 to 1.66 million in the week ended Jan. 21, the Labor Department said. Continuing claims are up from lows touched last spring, suggesting it is taking longer for some to find a new job.

Write to Bryan Mena at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 02, 2023 09:07 ET (14:07 GMT)

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