US Economy | US jobless claims hit 42-1/2-year low as labor market firms

US jobless claims hit 42-1/2-year low as labor market firms

April 21, 2016 12:22 PM (UTC+8)

 

(From Reuters)

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, hitting its lowest level since 1973, suggesting an apparent sharp slowdown in economic growth in the first quarter could be temporary.

Job seekers break out to visit corporate employment personnel at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation "Hiring Our Heroes" military job fair in Washington
Job seekers break out to visit corporate employment personnel at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation “Hiring Our Heroes” military job fair in Washington

While another report on Thursday showed a mild weakening in factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region in April, manufacturers were fairly upbeat about business prospects in the next six months. This, together with labor market buoyancy bodes well for a pick-up in economic growth in the second quarter.

“The labor market continues to improve. If the apparent slowing in GDP in the first quarter was truly a sudden change in trend, we should have seen something happen in claims by now,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York.

 Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 247,000 for the week ended April 16, the lowest reading since November 1973, the Labor Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 263,000 in the latest week. Read more

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