Jobless Claims in U.S. Declined More Than Forecast Last Week

Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped more than forecast last week, consistent with a robust labor market, a Labor Department report showed Thursday.

Key Points

• Jobless claims decreased by 19,000 to a three-week low of 238,000 (forecast was 248,000) in the week ended April 29

• Decline included a 13,890 unadjusted drop in New York’s claims, partly reversing the 16,315 jump in the previous week

• The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits fell by 23,000 to 1.96 million in the week ended April 22 (data reported with one-week lag), lowest since April 2000

Big Picture

The trend of subdued jobless claims indicates employers are placing a premium on workers with experience and skills. Together with steady hiring, that underscores a tighter job market. The monthly payrolls report, due from the Labor Department on Friday, is projected to show the economy added 190,000 workers in April after a 98,000 advance in March, and the unemployment rate hovered near the lowest in almost a decade.

Other Details

• Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, edged up to 243,000 from 242,250 in the prior week

• The four-week average of continuing claims declined to 1.99 million, the lowest since November 1988

• The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.4 percent

• Louisiana was the only state to estimate initial claims last week

• There was nothing unusual in the broader data, according to the Labor Department

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