U.S. jobless claims dip to 48-year low for second straight week

UNITED STATES jobless claims decreased by 1,000 to 204,000 last week. /BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/DANIEL ACKER
UNITED STATES jobless claims decreased by 1,000 to 204,000 last week. /BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/DANIEL ACKER

MEW YORK – Filings for United States unemployment benefits declined to a fresh 48-year low for the second straight week, underscoring a tight job market, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of jobless claims (Week ended Sept. 8)

  • Jobless claims decreased by 1,000 to 204,000 (estimated 210,000), lowest since Dec. 1969, from 205,000 (revised from 203,000)
  • Continuing claims fell by 15,000 to 1.696 million in week ended Sept. 1, lowest since late 1973 (data reported with one-week lag)
  • Four-week average of initial claims, a less volatile measure than the weekly figure, fell to 208,000, also lowest since Dec. 1969, from 210,000

Key takeaways

The figures show further signs of strength in employment after last week’s monthly jobs report for August indicated a solid pace of hiring and wages advancing at the fastest pace since the recession ended in 2009.

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While the weekly figures tend to be volatile, especially around periods marked by holidays such as last week’s Labor Day, the data are in line with company reports of difficulty finding skilled workers amid a shrinking pool. The issue came up again in the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report released Wednesday, where businesses flagged concern over filling positions.

The claims figures may see a temporary jump in coming weeks depending on the extent of damage and flooding from Hurricane Florence in the Southeast. That would follow the pattern from previous major storms, such as Harvey and Irma in 2017.

Other details

  • Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits was unchanged at 1.2 percent
  • Maine had estimated claims last week, according to the Labor Department

Katia Dmitrieva is a reporter for Bloomberg News.