WASHINGTON — The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits dropped last week, a sign that few companies are cutting jobs despite high inflation and a weak economy.
Applications for unemployment benefits for the week ending Sept. 24 fell by 16,000 to 193,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Last week’s number was revised down by 4,000 to 209,000.
First-time applications generally reflect layoffs. The current figures are very low historically and suggest Americans are benefiting from an unusually high level of job security.
The economy shrank in the first six months of the year, according to reports on gross domestic product, the government’s broadest measure of the economy’s output.
Yet employers, who have struggled to rehire after laying off 22 million workers at the height of the pandemic, are still looking to fill millions of open jobs. There are currently roughly two open positions for every unemployed worker, near a record high.
With companies desperate for workers, they are much more likely to hold onto their current staff.