US jobless claims fall to lowest level since before storms

Washington - Applications for US unemployment benefits declined last week to the lowest level since late August, before major hurricanes sent jobless claims soaring, Labour Department figures showed on Thursday.

Highlights of jobless claims (Week ended October 7)

• Jobless claims decreased by 15k to 243k (est. 250k).

• Continuing claims dropped by 32k to 1.89m in week ended September 30, the lowest since December 1973.

• Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, fell to 257.5k from 267.

Key takeaways

Jobless claims have returned to levels seen before hurricanes Harvey and Irma slammed into Texas, Florida and Georgia in late August and early September that eventually caused a spike in applications. While the Labour Department said the latest data still reflect the impacts of the Atlantic hurricane season, the number of filings for jobless benefits is consistent with a robust labour market.

Employers remain reluctant to dismiss people amid a shortage of qualified workers, which has kept claims hovering near the lowest level in more than four decades.

Other details

• Prior week’s reading was revised to 258 000 from 260 000.

• Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits fell to 1.3% from 1.4%.

• Claims were estimated for Virginia, South Carolina and the Virgin Islands.

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE UPDATE: Get Fin24's top morning business news and opinions in your inbox.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter: