The jobs market may be showing serious signs of improvement, in new statistics out Thursday morning.
The Department of Labor said that unemployment applications fell last week by 12,000, down to a seasonally adjusted 365,000. According to the Associated Press, a consistent number below 375,000 is seen as the number that suggests hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.
In addition, the ADP National Employment Report announced that employers added an estimated 201,000 private-sector jobs in August, according to Reuters, far surpassing the original expectation of 140,000.
Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, and a private survey showed businesses stepped up hiring in August. The data sketched a brighter outlook for the job market one day before the government reports on August employment.
Weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 365,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, ticked up to 371,250.
Unemployment benefit applications are a measure of the pace of layoffs. When they consistently fall below 375,000, it suggests that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.
Separately, payroll provider ADP said businesses added 201,000 jobs last month. That’s the most reported by the survey since March. And ADP said July job growth was stronger than first thought: Employers created 173,000 jobs – 10,000 more jobs than the group reported last month.
Private employers added a stronger-than-expected 201,000 jobs in August and new claims for jobless benefits fell last week to the lowest level in a month, upbeat signals for a struggling labor market.
The increase in private hiring, reported by payrolls processor ADP on Thursday, was the largest since March and easily beat economists’ expectations. July’s gain was revised up to 173,000 from the previously reported 163,000.
However, economists still think the government’s more comprehensive employment report due on Friday will show only modest hiring during August.