August 3, 2017 9:30 AM, EDT
Decline in Jobless Claims Shows Labor Demand Remains Robust
Career Fair Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg News

The decline in filings for U.S. unemployment benefits last week underscores steady demand for workers in a tightening job market, Labor Department figures showed Aug 3.

Highlights of Jobless Claims

• Jobless claims decreased by 5,000 to 240,000 (est. 243,000).

• Continuing claims crept up by 3,000 to 1.968 million in week ended June 22 (data reported with one-week lag).

• Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, declined to 241,750 from 244,250 in prior week.

Key Takeaways

The latest figure is little changed from the average so far this year. A shortage of qualified workers is making employers reluctant to let go of the people they already have, keeping the underlying trend in jobless claims near the lowest level in more than four decades.

Other recent reports such as business hiring and job openings indicate solid demand for labor. The Labor Department’s monthly employment report on Aug. 4 is projected to show payrolls climbed in July, while the unemployment rate fell. Job growth is sustaining consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy.

Other Details

• Prior week’s reading was revised to 245,000 from 244,000.

• Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.4%, where it’s been since early April.

• No states estimated claims last week and there was nothing unusual in the data, according to the Labor Department.

With assistance by Jordan Yadoo