Jobless claims are a vital measure of the health of the labor market. In addition to the monthly unemployment report, the jobless claims report tracks the number of people that have filed for unemployment benefits. The data essentially identifies what the new number of unemployed people are versus the number of total unemployed, which is measured by the unemployment rate.
New claims data is considered a timely indication of which direction the job market is heading as opposed to where it is. The data also identifies changes in labor dynamics. More recently, a unique dynamic has been occurring as younger workers entering the workforce are holding down labor costs, as they replace more costly older workers. The challenge for companies has been finding younger qualified employees to replace older skilled employees.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor