Jobless claims holding steady near 49-year low

Jobless claims holding steady near 49-year low
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First-time claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week, staying at a 49-year low for the second straight week.

The number of U.S. workers filing claims was 204,000 for the week ending Sept. 8, a drop of 1,000 from the previous week's level, the lowest level for initial claims since Dec. 6, 1969, when it was 202,000, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.

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The four-week moving average, which provides a better sense of the direction of the labor market, decreased 2,000 to 208,000, also the lowest level since Dec. 6, 1969.

Jobless claims have held below 300,000, a sign of a healthy labor market, for more than three years.

The labor market is showing signs of strength even as businesses have trouble finding qualified workers.

In August, the U.S. economy added 201,000 jobs and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.9 percent, near an 18-year low, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The economy has added jobs for 95 straight months, beginning in October 2010 under former President Obama. It is the longest streak of monthly jobs growth on record.

Another positive sign is that U.S. job openings in July surged to a record high while the number of people who quit their jobs rose to the highest level in 17 years, a sign that workers are more confident, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

The number of jobs to be filled increased by 117,000 to 6.94 million, from 6.82 million, in June, according to Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey reports.

The quits rate rose to a 17-year high of 2.4 percent as 3.58 million Americans quit their jobs, a sign that workers are comfortable in their ability to find a new job.