Employment: US jobless claims fall again
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, drifting back to near 42-year lows as labour market conditions continue to tighten.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 260,000 for the week ended November 21, the US Labor Department said yesterday.
The prior week's claims were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported. Claims have now held below the 300,000 threshold for 38 consecutive weeks, the longest stretch in years, and remain close to levels last seen in the early 1970s. Claims below this level are usually associated with a healthy jobs market.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labour market trends as it strips out week-to-week volatility, was unchanged at 271,000 last week.
The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 34,000 to 2.21 million in the week ended November 14.
The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims rose 15,250 to 2.18 million. The continuing claims data covered the period during which the government surveyed households for November's unemployment rate.
The four-week average of continuing claims rose 8,750 between the October and November survey periods, suggesting the unemployment rate will likely hold at a low of 5pc this month.