The U.S. labor market took a major hit in March, adding a mere 88,000 jobs, but things appear to be turning around once again as unemployment claims for the latest week in April drop to their lowest in six weeks, Bloomberg reports.
According to the news source, the number of jobless claims fell by 16,000 in the week ended April 20, dropping to its lowest since March 9, at 339,000. This also marked a better reading than economists had forecast, and came as the Consumer Comfort Index remained at nearly its highest in five years. With few people exiting the workforce, it suggests businesses are more optimistic about the economy.
This could lead to more hiring if sales bounce back from low levels reported last month. As consumer confidence continues to rise, this number could improve even more in the coming weeks, experts say.
"We have a labor market recovery that's ongoing," said Guy Berger, an economist at RBS Securities Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut. "The labor market has its ups and downs, but the direction shows things are getting better. Companies are willing to increase their headcounts but at a very slow pace."
According to USA Today, the recent data, provided by the Department of Labor Statistics, is not only the lowest in six weeks, it's also the second-lowest in five years. What could be even more important for the sector is the movement noted in the four-week average. This number, which reflects a much more accurate picture of the hiring environment, fell by 4,500 to 357,000 in the studied period.
Economists say that anytime the number of jobless claims falls below 350,000, it suggests those out of work are more likely to find a job. With more job seekers in the market, this could be a good time for employers to adopt new labor solutions to bring on employees from the temporary workforce.