A“Job Fair Today” sign during a Choice Career Fair in Los Angeles, California, U.S.(Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Little Change in Jobless Claims Signals Strong U.S. Labor Market

(Bloomberg) -- Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits were little changed last week, hovering close to a five-decade low that underscores a tight job market, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of Jobless Claims (Week Ended July 28)

  • Jobless claims edged up by 1k to 218k (est. 220k)
  • Continuing claims fell by 23k, biggest drop since June 2, to 1.72m in week ended July 21 (data reported with one-week lag) 
  • Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, decreased to 214,500, lowest since period ended May 12

Key Takeaways

Applications for unemployment benefits, which fell earlier last month to their lowest level since December 1969, have been trending down in the 10th year of the economic expansion. That’s consistent with a falling jobless rate and solid gains in hiring, which the July payrolls report -- due on Friday -- is projected to show.

The weekly figures complement other indicators showing businesses are having trouble finding skilled labor even as more workers re-enter the workforce seeking jobs.