November 9, 2017 3:45 PM, EST

Filings for Jobless Benefits Show Steady Job Market

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Even with an increase last week, the level of U.S. filings for unemployment benefits indicates steady demand for workers, Labor Department figures showed Nov. 9. The average number of applications filed over the past month was the lowest in 44 years.

Highlights of Jobless Claims for the Week Ended Nov. 4

• Jobless claims increased by 10,000 to 239,000 (estimated 232,000).

• Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, dropped by 1,250 to 231,250, the lowest since March 1973.

• Continuing claims rose by 17,000 to 1.90 million in week ended Oct. 28 (data reported with one-week lag).

Key Takeaways.

The report confirms employers remain reluctant to cut staffing levels amid a shortage of qualified workers. Weekly claims below 300,000 are considered a healthy snapshot of the job market.

Hiring also has been steady this year except for the recent fallout from the hurricanes, and the unemployment rate dropped in October to the lowest level since 2000, the monthly jobs report showed last week.

While initial claims were estimated for the Virgin Islands in the latest week, the Labor Department said Puerto Rico is now processing backlogged applications.

Other Details

• Prior week’s reading was unrevised at 229,000.

• Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits rose to 1.4 percent in week ended Oct. 28 from 1.3 percent.

• In addition to a pickup in Puerto Rico, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio were among states reporting large unadjusted increases.