Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits declined last week to the lowest level since late August, before major hurricanes sent jobless claims soaring, Labor Department figures showed Oct 12.
Highlights of Jobless Claims for the Week Ended Oct. 7
• Jobless claims decreased by 15,000 to 243,000 (estimated 250,000).
• Continuing claims dropped by 32,000 to 1.89 million in week ended Sept. 30, the lowest since December 1973.
• Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, fell to 257,500 from 267,000.
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 Labor 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 labor 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.
• 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.
With assistance by Patricia Laya, and Jordan Yadoo