Number of Americans filing for jobless benefits remains low as labor market continues to thrive

The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits last week inched up but largely stayed at historically low levels as the labor market continues to thrive despite elevated interest rates.

The Labor Department reported today that filings for unemployment claims for the week ending March 9 ticked down by 1,000 to 209,000 from the previous week’s 208,000.

The four-week average of claims, which evens out some of the weekly volatility, came in at 208,000, a decrease of 500 from the previous week.

In total, 1.81 million Americans were collecting jobless benefits during the week that ended March 2, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week. Last week’s number, which had been the most since November, was revised down by 112,000.

Weekly unemployment claims are considered a proxy for the number of U.S. layoffs in a given week. They have remained at historically low levels since the pandemic purge of millions of jobs in the spring of 2020.