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Americans on unemployment hits lowest since 1988

18 May 2017

Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 115 straight weeks.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, slid to their lowest level since November of 1988.

The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 232,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 236,000.

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Analysts had been expecting an increase of 4,000 new claims. The four-week moving average declined to 1.946mn from 1.966mn previously and the lowest level since January 1974. The measure has not been lower since December 1973.

In the week ending May 6th, the largest increases in initial claims were for Texas and Georgia while the largest decline was seen in NY.

Last week's claims data covered the survey week for May's nonfarm payrolls.

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The U.S. Labor Department reported this morning that new applications for U.S. jobless benefits fell last week and the number of Americans on unemployment rolls tumbled to a 28-1/2-year low, pointing to rapidly shrinking labour market slack.

Analysts say employers are forgoing layoffs for fear of not being able to replace the workers they let go, and anecdotal reports across the country show companies are finding it hard to fill open positions, including for low-skill jobs.

The gauge contributes to Fed policy makers' case that the economy can withstand further increases in the benchmark interest rate this year.

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Americans on unemployment hits lowest since 1988