Last week, the number of Americans filling, for state unemployment benefits rose by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 210,000 for the week ended on February 15. The Labor Department provided this information. However, the labor market remains in a strong position despite the risks connected with coronavirus and week business development. As a result, the labor market could help to boost the economy.
The factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region reached a three-year high in February. The Phase 1 trade deal between the U.S. and China helped to alleviate the risks.
The good news is that the four-week average of initial claims fell 3,250 to 209,000 last week. It is important to note that it is considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility.
U.S. economy and unemployment
Interestingly, the claims covered the period of time during which the U.S. government surveyed businesses for the nonfarm payrolls component of February’s employment report.
Based on the survey, claims declined 13,000 between January and February.
U.S economy created 225,000 jobs in January. During the last month of 2019, the economy added 147,000 positions. Also, the unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.6%. More people entered the labor force and that is good news. It a sign of confidence in their job prospects.
Based on the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting at the end of January, the Federal Reserve expects the economy to grow at a moderate pace.
However, the labor market may experience problems this year, with job openings falling to a two-year low in December.
On Thursday, the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia released a report. Based on this report, the business conditions index soared to a reading of 36.7 in February. This is the best result since February 2017. Last month this index stood at 17.0.
The Philadelphia Fed survey’s six-month business conditions index rose to a reading of 45.4 in February. However, the six-month capital expenditures index declined to 29.8 from a reading of 32.9 in the previous month.
Moreover, the survey’s measure of new orders received by factories in the region jumped to 33.6 points this month from a reading of 18.2 in January. This region covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.
Nevertheless, a measure of factory employment slipped. The situation is different in New York. According to the Federal Reserve of New York, a measure of business activity in New York state reached a nine-month high in February.