Finance

Jobless claims fall to 49-year low for third straight week

Applications for unemployment benefits fell to a new 49-year low for the third straight week, reflecting a tight job market.

U.S. filings for jobless claims fell 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 201,000 in the week ended Sept. 15, the lowest level since Nov. 15 1969, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The four-week moving average, which is a better gauge for the direction of job market, was 205,750, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week's 208,000, the lowest level since Dec. 6, 1969 when it was 204,500.

The effects of Hurricane Florence, which hit North Carolina and South Carolina last weekend, on jobs is not yet known.

The storm, which has caused widespread flooding across the two states, may temporarily push up unemployment figures in the next few weeks like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma did last year.

The latest figures provide evidence that businesses are holding on to their existing staff while trying to find skilled workers to fill open positions.

Martha Gimbel, the research director at Indeed.com, cautioned that while the numbers look good it is nearly impossible to compare the economy of 2018 to 1969.

In a tweet she said that "policy changes over time mean that someone eligible to be counted as a receiver of UI benefits today is not the same as someone in 1969."

"UI claims are low! Like many other labor market indicators, they're doing great!" she wrote.

"But please don't compare them over decades - it's not an apples to apples comparison."

Outbrain
View desktop version