Applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. declined to a five-week low, consistent with a resilient labor market, Labor Department figures showed Dec. 7.
Highlights of Jobless Claims for the Week Ended Dec. 2
• Jobless claims decreased by 2,000 to 236,000 (est. 240,000)
• Four-week average, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, dropped to 241,500 from the prior week’s 242,250.
• Continuing claims fell by 52,000 to 1.91 million in week ended Nov. 25 (data reported with one-week lag).
Applications for jobless benefits below the 300,000 are considered consistent with a steady job market. Claims hovering near the lowest level in more than four decades also show employers are reluctant to reduce staff amid the current shortage of qualified workers.
A report Dev. 8 is projected to show payrolls increased by almost 200,000 in November, while the jobless rate held at an almost 17-year low of 4.1%.
• Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.4%.
• The Labor Department said jobless claims were estimated for the Virgin Islands as the territory continues to recover from hurricanes Irma and Maria months ago.
• Claims-taking process in Puerto Rico has also still not returned to normal, Labor said.
With assistance by Jordan Yadoo