Even amid a partial federal government shutdown, filings for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week. Jobless claims declined by 3,000 to 213,000 in the week ended Jan. 12, a five-week low, according to a Labor Department report Thursday. Details on claims by federal employees are reported with a lag, and analysts caution that it may take more time for the closures to be fully reflected in the report.
Let’s see what happens to US wage and earnings in the next report. Since Federal workers are paid higher salaries, on average, than private sector workers, we should see a big decline in hourly earnings (government contractors are counted as private workers).
True, nonessential Federal workers clearly are hurting (although most will be paid back salaries once the shutdown ends).
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