U.S. jobless claims fall after two straight weekly
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[November 22, 2017]
WASHINGTON, (Reuters) - The number of
Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week after two
straight weekly increases, pointing to continued steady job growth after
recent hurricane-related disruptions.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 13,000 to a
seasonally adjusted 239,000 for the week ended Nov. 18, the Labor
Department said on Wednesday, reversing the prior week's increase.
Claims had risen in recent weeks as a backlog of applications from
Puerto Rico was processed following repairs to infrastructure damaged by
Hurricanes Irma and Maria. A Labor Department official said
claims-taking procedures continued to be disrupted in the Virgin
The claims report was released a day early because of the U.S.
Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had
forecast claims falling to 240,000 in the latest week.
Last week marked the 142nd straight week that claims remained below the
300,000 threshold, which is associated with a strong labor market. That
is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was
The labor market is near full employment, with the jobless rate at a
17-year low of 4.1 percent. The four-week moving average of initial
claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons
out week-to-week volatility, rose 1,250 to 239,750 last week.
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A local pizza restaurant advertises for workers in Encinitas,
California, U.S., September 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The claims data covered the survey period for the non-farm payrolls component of
November's employment report. The four-week average of claims fell 8,750 between
the October and November survey weeks, suggesting steady job growth this month.
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are not included in the non-farm payrolls
The economy created 261,000 jobs in October, a large chunk of which reflected a
recovery after workers in Texas and Florida were temporarily displaced by the
hurricanes. Non-farm payrolls increased by only 18,000 in September.
The claims report also showed the number of people still receiving benefits
after an initial week of aid rose 36,000 to 1.90 million in the week ended Nov.
11. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims increased
1,000 to 1.89 million.
((Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao))
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