US Jobless Claims Drop Further

Washington, The number of people filing initial applications for US state unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly last week, dropping close to a 49-year low, the government reported Thursday, providing further evidence of the strong labor market.The La...

Washington, The number of people filing initial applications for US state unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly last week, dropping close to a 49-year low, the government reported Thursday, providing further evidence of the strong labor market.

The Labor Department said jobless claims fell 3,000 to 201,000 last week, the lowest level since November 1969, when the labor market was far smaller. Economists had forecast claims rising to 210,000 last week.

The four-week moving average of jobless claims�a better measure of labor-market trends because it smoothes weekly volatility�fell 2,250 to 205,750 last week, the lowest level since December 1969.

The labor market is considered to be at or near full employment. It continues to strengthen, with payrolls increasing by 201,000 jobs in August and annual wage growth beginning to accelerate. Job openings hit a record high of 6.9 million in July.

While there have been reports of some firms planning job cuts because of trade tensions between the Trump administration and major U.S. trading partners, they have been offset partially by increased hiring in the steel industry. Economists, however, warn of job losses if the trade tensions escalate.

Thursday's jobless-claims report also showed the total number of people receiving unemployment benefits fell 55,000 to 1.645 million last week, the lowest level since August 1973. The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell 20,750 to 1.691 million, the lowest since November 1973.

Source: Saudi Press Agency