Jobless Claims Continue to Fall as Labor Demand Exceeds Hurricane Impacts

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 12, 2017

U.S. jobless claims retreated by slightly more than expected over the last reference week, although the government statisticians cautioned that hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria had impacted the claims data.

The Labor Department said Thursday first-time jobless claims fell 15,000 to 243,000 for the week ending October 7, a stronger-than-expected result. Claims then remained elevated after hurricanes Irma and Maria later hit parts of the Southern and Eastern U.S., affecting claims readings in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition, claims for Virginia were estimated. Claims have been declining since surging to an nearly three-year high of 298,000 at the start of September as workers displaced by the hurricanes were left temporarily unemployed. Now rebuilding efforts may be adding more jobs.

Underscoring the labour market's underlying strength, claims have now been below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a robust labour market, for 136 straight weeks.

The number of claims workers made for longer than a week dropped to 1,889,000 in the week ended September 30, the lowest level for continuing claims since December 1973.

The four-week moving average was 257,500, a decrease of 9,500 from the previous week's revised average, while the previous week's average was revised down by 1,250 from 268,250 to 267,000.

The claims report also showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 32,000 to 1.89 million in the week ended September 30, the lowest level since December 1973.

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