The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week to a four-decade low, a sign that the labor market tightens and employers are less willing to fire workers.
Initial jobless claims dropped by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 249,000 in the week ended Oct.1, the Labor Department said on Thursday.That was the lowest level since mid-April, when claims hit an almost 43-year low.
Economists from Wall Street had expected 255,000 first-time applications for jobless benefits last week.
“With labor increasingly scarce and expensive, employers need to hold onto their existing staff, even though most surveys suggests their enthusiasm for new hiring has diminished since the early part of the year,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
The four-week moving average of claims, a less-volatile measure of labor market trends, fell to 253,500 last week, the lowest level since December 1973.
It’s the 83rd consecutive week that initial jobless claims have remained below 300,000, the longest streak since 1970. It is considered as a strong labor market.
“There’s no question about it, these are good numbers,” David Sloan, senior economist at 4Cast Inc. in New York. “The implication here is that the payrolls trend will remain healthy. The big picture is consistent with the Fed raising rates at some point this year, most likely in December.”