First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits came in unchanged in the week ended September 5th, the Labor Department revealed in a report on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims came in at 884,000, unchanged from the previous week’s revised level. Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 846,000 from the 881,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average fell to 970,750, a decrease of 21,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 992,500.

Meanwhile, the report said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, climbed by 93,000 to 13.385 million in the week ended August 29th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still tumbled to 13,982,000, a decrease of 523,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 14,505,750.

“The data show that despite job gains and a fall in the unemployment rate in August, layoffs remain widespread and the labor market remains in a fragile place at a critical juncture,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

She added, “Failure on the part of policymakers to enact another fiscal relief package poses significant downside risks to the economy and labor market.”

Last Friday, the Labor Department released a separate report showing another substantial increase in U.S. employment in the month of August, although the pace of job growth continued to slow from the record spike seen in June.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment surged up by 1.371 million jobs in August after spiking by a downwardly revised 1.734 million jobs in July and soaring by 4.781 million jobs in June.

Economists had expected employment to jump by about 1.400 million jobs compared to the addition of 1.763 million jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The strong job growth in August was partly due to the hiring of 238,000 temporary 2020 Census workers, which contributed to a significant increase in government employment.

The continued job growth contributed to a much bigger than expected drop in the unemployment rate, which fell to 8.4 percent in August from 10.2 percent in July. Economists had expected the unemployment rate to edge down to 9.8 percent.


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