Jobless claims in U.S. rose last week from a four-decade low

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(Bloomberg) — U.S. filings for unemployment benefits rose last week from the lowest level since 1973, consistent with a steady job market, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of jobless claims (week ended Oct. 21)

  • Jobless claims increased by 10k to 233k (est. 235k)
  • Continuing claims fell by 3k to 1.89m in week ended Oct. 14, lowest since December 1973 (data reported with one-week lag)
  • Less-volatile four-week average of initial claims declined to 239.5k from 248.5k in prior week

Key takeaways
Applications for jobless benefits are still near the lowest level in more than four decades and indicate employers want to hold on to existing staff amid a shortage of qualified workers. Steady hiring and low unemployment are helping to sustain consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy.

Claims had surged in the initial aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma that affected Texas, Florida and Georgia. Filings last week were estimated for South Carolina and the Virgin Islands, according to the Labor Department.

The federal agency also said claims-taking procedures in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands remain disrupted because of the hurricanes.

Other details

  • Prior week’s initial claims were revised to 223,000 from 222,000
  • Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.3%
  • The increase in claims was the first in four weeks
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