Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

U.S. Jobless Claims Rebound After Plunging to Four-Decade Low

Filings for unemployment benefits in the U.S. rebounded last week from a four-decade low while remaining consistent with a firm labor market.

Jobless claims rose by 18,000 to 251,000 in the period ended Nov. 19, a Labor Department report showed Wednesday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for 250,000 applications. In the previous week that included the Veterans Day holiday, applications slumped to 233,000, the lowest since 1973.

Companies have balked at outright dismissals as a tighter job market leaves fewer skilled workers available for open positions. Filings for unemployment benefits have been below 300,000, a level synonymous with a thriving labor market, for 90 straight weeks -- the longest streak since 1970.

Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 225,000 to 265,000. The prior week’s reading was revised from 235,000.

The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, declined to 251,000 -- the lowest since the first week of October -- from 253,000 in the prior week.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits climbed by 60,000 to 2.04 million in the week ended Nov. 12. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits ticked up to 1.5 percent from 1.4 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

No states had estimated claims last week and there was nothing unusual in the data, according to the Labor Department.

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