US initial jobless claims slip

Initial jobless claims slipped last week.

Claims, which count the number of people who applied for unemployment insurance for the first time in the past week, fell to 234,00 from an upwardly revised 235,000.

Economists had forecast that they would jump to 245,000.

This is also the 110th straight week that claims have been under 300,000, the longest such streak since 1970.

The four-week moving average was 247,250, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised number.

Ward McCarthy, chief financial economists at Jefferies, said that the sustained low level of claims is historic.

“It is remarkable that claims have fallen to the same level of the 1970s in a labour market that has roughly doubled in size,” McCarthy said.

“The direct comparability of current claims data relative to the claims data from 40 years ago is somewhat questionable due to the combination of reduced duration of benefits and technological changes since 2011 that have reduced the number of both initial and continuing claims. Nonetheless, the low level of claims in a significantly larger labour market, and the persistence of a remarkably low level of claims is still a testament to the strength of the labour market.”

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