U.S. jobless claims drop to 242,000

Jobless claims for unemployment benefits fell to 242,000 for the week ending May 13, under economists’ predictions of 254,000.

Following a sharp rise in Massachusetts claims, the number of Americans requesting unemployment benefits fell more than anticipated last week.

The number also decreased from the year-and-a-half high of 264,000 reported in the previous week, a dramatic increase fueled by a surge in Massachusetts files that the state claimed was due to “fraudulent” operations.

The four-week moving average, which seeks to consider the weekly number’s volatility, decreased little to 244,250.

According to economists, claims between 270,000 to 300,000 may indicate that the labour market is starting to show signs of fractures. As part of its recent campaign of interest rate hikes intended to contain inflation, the Federal Reserve has made reducing job demand a core tenet.

At its most recent policy meeting, the Fed increased borrowing costs by 25 basis points, but there is still speculation that the U.S. central bank would decide to suspend its tightening cycle at its next meeting in June.

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