The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a five-month low last week, according to the Labor Department.
Jobless claims for the week ended Sept. 24 totaled 193,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week’s downwardly revised total and below the 215,000 Dow Jones estimate.
The drop in claims was the lowest level since April 23. Continuing claims, which runs a week behind, fell 29,000 to 1.347 million.
The strong labor report comes amid the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool the economy and bring down inflation. Central bank officials specifically have pointed to the tight labor market and its upward pressure on salaries as a target of the policy tightening.
The central bank last week raised its policy interest rate by 75 basis points and signaled more large increases to come this year. Since March, the Fed has hiked its policy rate from near zero to the current range of 3.00% to 3.25%.
The Fed last week raised its median forecast for the unemployment rate this year to 3.8% from its previous projection of 3.7% in June. It boosted its estimate for 2023 to 4.4% from the 3.9% projected in June.