US Weekly Jobless Claims Drop to 49-yr Lows
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, hitting its lowest level in 49 yrs and pointing to robust labor market conditions.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 204,000 for the week ended 8 September, the lowest mark since December 1969, the US Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for the prior week was revised to show 2,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 210,000 in the latest week. The claims data covered last Monday’s Labor Day holiday.
The 4-Wk MA of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out W-W volatility, fell 2,000 last week to 208,000, also the lowest mark since December 1969.
The labor market is viewed as being near or at full employment. It continues to strengthen, with nonfarm payrolls increasing by 201,000 jobs in August and annual wage growth notching its biggest gain in more than 9 years. Job openings hit an all-time high of 6.9-M in July.
The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report, which was published Wednesday, described the labor market as “tight throughout the country, with most districts reporting widespread shortages.”
Though there have been reports of some companies either planning job cuts or laying off workers because of trade tensions between the United States and its major trade partners, they have been partially offset by increased hiring in the steel industry.
Economists, however, warn of widespread job losses if The Trump Administration presses ahead with tariffs on nearly all Chinese imports. President Donald Trump last week threatened duties on another $267-B worth of Chinese goods on Top of a $200-B tariff list that is awaiting his decision.
Thursday’s jobless claims report also showed the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 15,000 to 1.70-M for the week ended 1 September the lowest mark since December 1973. The 4-Wk MA of the continuing claims decreased 8,250 to 1.71-M, the lowest mark since November 1973.
Keeping America Great!