Published: Fri, March 02, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Laurence Reese

America's jobs market just did something it hadn't done since 1969

America's jobs market just did something it hadn't done since 1969

The numbers: The rate of layoffs as measured by USA jobless claims fell to the lowest level since 1969, reflecting the strongest labor market since the end of the dotcom boom almost two decades ago.

USA filings for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in nearly five decades, indicating the job market remains tight, Labor Department figures showed on Thursday, March 1.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 226,000 from the 222,000 originally reported for the previous week.

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On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, jobless claims dropped down to 195.9K.

Claims in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have not returned to normal, the Labor Department noted.

The four-week average, which is less volatile than the weekly figure, dipped to 220,500, a decrease of 5,000, the lowest level since December 27, 1969, when it was 219,750.

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Unemployment claims have remained historically low for several years, a sign of health in the USA labor market. Last week was the 156th consecutive week that new jobless claims were below 300,000, which is seen as the watermark for a strong labour market. The jobless rate at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. Economic growth has been healthy in recent quarters, supported by buoyant consumer and business confidence.

This is the kind of jobs market that's likely to encourage the Federal Reserve to continue raising borrowing costs.

Slightly more people were added to the unemployment rolls than came off them, pushing the number of continuing claims up by 57,000 to 1.93 million.

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