Economic Report: Jobless claims climb 8,000 to 215,000 at end of July, but layoffs still extremely low

A woman speaks to a potential employer at a New York state jobs fair. Strong hiring has reduced layoffs in the U.S. to the lowest level in decades. The numbers: More workers applied for unemployment benefits at the end of July, but the rate of layoffs in the U.S. clung near the lowest level in…

Economic Report: Jobless claims climb 8,000 to 215,000 at end of July, but layoffs still extremely low

A woman speaks to a potential employer at a New York state jobs fair. Strong hiring has reduced layoffs in the U.S. to the lowest level in decades. The numbers: More workers applied for unemployment benefits at the end of July, but the rate of layoffs in the U.S. clung near the lowest level in decades and showed no sign of rising. Initial jobless claims rose by 8,000 to 215,000 in the seven days ended July 27, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch estimated new claims would total a seasonally adjusted 210,000.

The more stable monthly average of new claims fell by 1,750 to 211,500. The four-week average usually gives a better read into labor-market conditions than the more volatile weekly number. What happened: The only state with a notable increase in jobless claims was Illinois. Claims fell in Michigan, Kentucky and Georgia. Claims often swing sharply in July in states such as Michigan with lots of auto production. Workers left idle when companies briefly shut plants to retool for new models are eligible for benefits in some states. New claims are still close to a half-century low, however. T
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