US jobless claims fall to 202,000 in March

US March jobless claims are the lowest in almost 50 years.

US jobless claims are down to their lowest levels in 49 years according to the US Labour Department. New unemployment claims fell by 10,000 to 202,000 by the end of March, less than the 216,000 expected by economists.

US March jobless claims details

The scarcity of workers in a still strong economy has led to a reduction of unemployment claims over the past month. In addition to a decline in new jobless claims, the number of workers collecting continuous unemployment dropped by 38,000 to 1.72 million as well. The robust labour market shows there is still a demand for skilled employees as the unemployment rate is still low at 3.8%.

Mixed employment news as job layoffs surge

While jobless claims decreased, there was negative economic news as layoffs increased. According to a report from outplacement company, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, job layoffs grew by 35% and hit their highest point in four years. Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray, & Christmas, noted that technological advances have led to companies streamlining their workforces.

‘Companies appear to be streamlining and updating their processes, and workforce reductions are increasingly becoming a part of these decisions. Consumer behavior and advances in technology are driving many of these cuts,’ said Challenger.

Challenger also said that the layoff statistics point to a possible slowdown in the US economy.

‘Several indications, such as the number of companies filing for bankruptcy or closing operations, suggest we’re heading for a downturn. The recent proposal to close the southern border adds to the uncertainty and may contribute to more cuts as companies try to adapt,’ said Challenger.

Wall Street will be watching the non-farm payroll reports later this week to see if the US economy is still strong or experiencing a downturn.

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