U.S. jobless claims at
43-year low as labor market tightens
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[October 13, 2016]
Reuters - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits held
at a 43-year low last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength
pave the way for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits were unchanged at a
seasonally adjusted 246,000 for the week ended Oct. 8, the lowest
reading since November 1973, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Claims for the prior week were revised to show 3,000 fewer applications
received than previously reported.
It was the 84th consecutive week that claims remained below the 300,000
threshold, which is associated with robust labor market conditions. That
is the longest stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much
Minutes of the Fed's Sept. 20-21 policy meeting published on Wednesday
showed several officials believed it would be appropriate to increase
interest rates "relatively soon" if the economy continued to gain
The U.S. central bank raised its benchmark overnight interest rate last
December and has held it steady since, largely because of concerns over
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for
jobless benefits rising to 254,000 in the latest week. A Labor
Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last
week's data and only claims for Louisiana and Virginia had been
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of
labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 3,500
to 249,250 last week, also the lowest level since November 1973.
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A job-seeker completes an application at a career job fair in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 25, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Makela/File
the pace of employment growth has slowed to a monthly average of 178,000 jobs so
far this year after averaging 229,000 positions per month in 2015, it remains
well above the roughly 100,000 that Fed Chair Janet Yellen says is needed to
absorb new entrants in the job market.
Thursday's claims report also showed the number of people still receiving
benefits after an initial week of aid declined 16,000 to 2.05 million in the
week ended Oct. 1, the lowest level since June 2000.
The four-week average of the so-called continuing claims dropped 25,750 to 2.07
million. That was the lowest reading since July 2000.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
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