US Jobless Claims Lowest Since March 1973

The Department of Labor reported 223,000 new jobless claims were filed during the week ending February 25.

Advertisment Americans filing for unemployment benefits numbered less last week than at any time in the last 44 years, pointing to further tightening in the stateside labour market even as economic growth appears to have remained moderate in the first quarter. This is a decline of 19,000 from the prior week's revised level of 242,000 (from 244,000).

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 245,000 new claims last week.

The drop pulled the four-week moving average down to its lowest level since it hit 232,750 in the week ended April 14, 1973. He calls it a "remarkable run below 300,000" that has reached "historically low levels".

Jobless claims have remained below 300,000 for 104 consecutive weeks, the longest such streak since 1970-when the USA workforce and population were much smaller than they are today.

On the other hand, the report said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, rose by 3,000 to 2.066 million in the week ended February 18th. Data on continuing claims are released with a one-week lag.

A survey from the USA central bank on Wednesday showed the labor market remained tight in early 2017, with some of the Fed's districts reporting "widening" labor shortages.

The jobless claims tally sees large swings from week to week but can be used to gauge the prevalence of layoffs and the health of the labor market.

  • Zachary Reyes