Applications for US jobless aid fell to 3-month low of 232K

Applications for US jobless aid fell to 3-month low of 232K

On Thursday, May 18, 2017, the Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits a week earlier.

US Initial jobless claims declined to 232,000 in the week ending May 13th from 236,000 previously while consensus forecasts were for a small increase to around 240,000 for the week. Claims fell 11,000 between the April and May survey periods suggesting further employment gains this month.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell to a more than four-decade low of 1.946 million from the previous week's revised average 1.966 million.

The persistently low level of layoffs is one sign the labor market is tightening and may be at or near the level that economists consider maximum employment. That's the longest such streak since 1970.

The number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 22,000 to 1.90 million in the week ended May 6, the lowest level since November 1988. The figure has fallen 12 percent in the past year.

The numbers show that companies are holding onto the workers they have and are hiring more. Americans are spending more, factories have cranked up output and home sales are strong, boosting the economy after it barely expanded in the first three months of the year. The Labor Department said in its latest jobs report that employers added 211,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.4%, a level last seen in May 2007.