Jobless Claims Fell Last Week, Showing Tight U.S. Labor Market

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. filings for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week following a storm-related surge in the prior period, indicating resilient demand for workers, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of Jobless Claims (Week ended Sept. 29)
  • Jobless claims decreased by 8k to 207k (est. 215k) from 215k (prev. 214k)
  • Continuing claims fell by 13k to 1.65m in week ended Sept. 22 (data reported with one-week lag)
  • Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, was little changed at 207k

Jobless Claims Fell Last Week, Showing Tight U.S. Labor Market

Key Takeaways

Filings for unemployment benefits are returning to levels near an almost five-decade low. That’s consistent with expectations that any increase following Hurricane Florence would likely prove temporary, based on the pattern seen around previous major storms such as Harvey and Irma in 2017. The prior week’s jump in claims had reflected elevated figures for North Carolina and in South Carolina, two states hurt by flooding and damage from Florence.

The four-week moving average for continuing claims fell to the lowest since October 1973, the Labor Department said. Steady demand for labor, which is making businesses hold on to existing workers, is projected to be reinforced by the September payrolls report due Friday. The unemployment rate is close to the lowest since 1969.