U.S. Jobless Claims at Nine-Week Low Reflect Shortage of Workers

The lowest level of filings for U.S. unemployment benefits in about two months may reflect growing demand for workers in a tight job market, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of Jobless Claims (Week ended July 15)

  • Jobless claims decreased by 15k to 233k (forecast was 245k); level in February was lowest since early 1970s
  • Continuing claims increased by 28k to 1.98m in week ended July 8 (data reported with one-week lag)
  • Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, fell to 243.8k from 246k in prior week

Key Takeaways

Filings fell close to the lowest level since 1973, which shows that employers in the U.S. are hesitant to fire workers as finding qualified applicants becomes increasingly difficult. Analysts may pay particular attention to Thursday’s report because it covers the same week when the Labor Department conducts surveys for its monthly employment report, which is due out on Aug. 4.

Other Details

  • Prior week’s reading was revised to 248,000 from 247,000
  • Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits was unchanged at 1.4 percent
  • No states estimated claims last week
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