Jobless benefit rolls at 28-year low show U.S. labor tightness

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(Bloomberg) — A decline in U.S. jobless-benefit rolls to a 28-year low adds to signs of a tight labor market, as initial unemployment claims also remained subdued, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of Jobless Claims (Week Ended May 6)
  • Initial jobless claims decreased by 2,000 to 236,000 (forecast was 245,000)
  • Continuing claims fell by 61,000 to 1.918 mln in week ended April 29 (data reported with one-week lag), the lowest since November 1988
  • Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, was little changed at 243,500 from 243,000 in the prior week

Key Takeaways
The decline in jobless-benefit rolls dovetails with a drop in the unemployment rate, signaling the labor market continues to strengthen. Initial claims have been below 300,000 since early 2015, rounding out the overall picture of solid economic growth. The continued evidence of a tight labor market is supporting forecasts the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again next month.

Other Details

  • Prior week’s reading was unrevised at 238,000
  • The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits was unchanged at 1.4 percent
  • Louisiana was the only state with estimated claims last week
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