Weekly jobless claims fall to 5-week low at 201,000

Labor officials said those filing for unemployment benefits last week reached a five-week low. File Photo by Alexis C. Glenn/UPI

Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Workers filing for unemployment benefits for the first time fell to a seasonally adjusted five-week low of 201,000 last week, Labor officials said Thursday.

The weekly report, which is followed closely by the Federal Reserve, as a glimpse of workforce stability, had soared to 227,000 for the week ending Jan. 27, a five-month high at that time. The first-time jobless claims tumbled by 14,000 over the past two weeks before the 12,000 application drop this past week.

The weekly first-time filings have been volatile the first two months of the year so far. The weekly number had dropped under the 200,000 mark briefly for the week ending Jan. 13 to 189,000 before leaping by 26,000 applications the following week.

The four-week moving average for initial unemployment insurance filings dropped 3,500 last week to 215,250. The previous week's average was revised up by 250, the Labor Department said.

The number of people filing for unemployment claims reached 1.86 million for the week ending Feb. 10, a drop of 27,000 from the week before. The four-week moving average for that period, though, rose to 1,877,500, an increase of 8,500 from the previous week.

Labor officials said the average was the report's highest moving average in more than two years, when it increased to 1,888,250 for the week ending Dec. 11, 2021.