A Baptist Health Network human resources worker, left, hands a business card to a job seeker during a Job News USA career fair. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

Jobless Claims at Five-Week Low Show Resilient U.S. Job Market

(Bloomberg) -- Applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. declined to a five-week low, consistent with a resilient labor market, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of Jobless Claims (Week ended Dec. 2)

  • Jobless claims decreased by 2k to 236k (est. 240k)
  • Four-week average, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, dropped to 241,500 from the prior week’s 242,250
  • Continuing claims fell by 52k to 1.91m in week ended Nov. 25 (data reported with one-week lag)

Key Takeaways

Applications for jobless benefits below the 300,000 are considered consistent with a steady job market. Claims hovering near the lowest level in more than four decades also show employers are reluctant to reduce staff amid the current shortage of qualified workers.

A report Friday is projected to show payrolls increased by almost 200,000 in November, while the jobless rate held at an almost 17-year low of 4.1 percent.

Other Details

  • Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.4 percent
  • The Labor Department said jobless claims were estimated for the Virgin Islands as the territory continues to recover from hurricanes Irma and Maria months ago
  • Claims-taking process in Puerto Rico has also still not returned to normal, Labor said

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