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

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  • Initial jobless claims – first-time filings for unemployment benefits – fell to a 48-year low of 210,000 last week.
  • Claims offer the most real-time look into the labour market, since many people file for benefits soon after they lose their jobs.
  • The data shows that the jobs market remains tight, especially for highly skilled workers.

Initial jobless claims fell last week to a 48-year low.

First-time filings for unemployment benefits totaled 210,000, the lowest level since December 1969, data from the Department of Labour showed on Thursday. It was a decrease of 10,000 from the prior week and below economists’ forecast for 225,000 claims, according to Bloomberg.

The weekly-jobless-claims data offers the most real-time look into the labour market, since many people file for unemployment benefits not long after they lose their jobs. The four-week moving average of claims, which irons out some of the week-by-week volatility, fell by 5,000 to 220,500 – also the lowest since 1969.

The data shows that the jobs market remains tight, especially for highly skilled workers.

This is the kind of jobs market that’s likely to encourage the Federal Reserve to continue raising borrowing costs. It’s expected to do so three times this year.

“We’ve seen continuing strength in the labour market – we’ve seen some data that in my case will add some confidence to my view that inflation is moving up to target,” said Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday.

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