Friday, November 18, 2016

A Four-Decade Low

Sometimes we take note of economic statistics that have returned to where they were before the recession. But this one goes back much further than that: Last week, the fewest Americans filed for unemployment benefits since 1973.

Jobless claims dropped by 19,000 to 235,000 in the week ended last Saturday, a Labor Department report showed yesterday. Continuing claims fell below 2 million, reaching a 16-year low.

The biggest drop in initial claims since June suggests employers are hesitant to fire workers, as the number of experienced applicants available for hiring remains limited. Filings for unemployment benefits have stayed below 300,000 for 89 straight weeks, which is the longest such streak since 1970.

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