U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh (R) pictured with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra (L) at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Pool Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Unemployment claims fell in the week ending Jan. 22, marking the first drop in a month, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.
Initial jobless claims were 260,000 for that week, a decrease of 30,000 from the previous week's revised level, according to the labor department.
A total of 1.7 million people were collecting unemployment compensation in the week ending Jan. 15.
As initial jobless claims declined, the Commerce Department reported U.S. gross domestic product -- the total output of all goods and services -- increased by 5.7% for all of 2021.
That's the largest growth for any year since 1984.
The Federal Reserve Wednesday left its benchmark interest rate near zero but warned an interest rate increase is coming soon to combat inflation.
In its press release Thursday the labor department said the largest increases in initial jobless claims for the week ending Jan. 15 were in California (+805), Kentucky (+527), Puerto Rico (+473), Rhode Island (+464), and Virginia (+406), while the largest decreases were in New York (-13,854), Missouri (-7,098), Washington (-6,016), Michigan (-5,555), and Texas (-4,773).
Economists expect jobless claims to continue to head lower as the economic disruptions from the Omicron COVID-19 variant fade, according to ABC News.