U.S. Jobless Claims Fell Last Week

02/08/18 08:45 AM EST
   By Sarah Chaney and Sharon Nunn 

The number of Americans filing applications for new unemployment benefits fell last week for the third time in four weeks, pointing to continued labor market tightness.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., fell by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 221,000 in the week ended Feb. 3, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected 231,000 new claims last week.

Weekly jobless claims have held below 300,000 for almost three years, the longest streak since 1970 -- when the U.S. population was far smaller than it is today.

Jobless claims data can be volatile from week to week. The four-week moving average, a steadier measure, fell by 10,000 to 224,500 last week, the lowest level since the beginning of 1973.

The broader labor market has exhibited tightness recently. The unemployment rate has been parked at 4.1%, a 17-year low, for the past four months, and January marked the 88th straight month of job creation, the Labor Department said Friday.

The number of claims workers made for longer than a week -- so-called continuing claims -- declined by 33,000 to 1.923 million in the week ended Jan. 27. Continuing claims are reported with a one-week lag.

The Labor Department report on jobless claims can be accessed at: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/current.htm.

Write to Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com and Sharon Nunn at sharon.nunn@wsj.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 08, 2018 08:45 ET (13:45 GMT)

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