April 26, 2018 10:15 AM, EDT

Jobless Claims Decline on Return of New York School Workers

Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg News

U.S. filings for unemployment benefits plunged to the lowest level since 1969, mainly reflecting the return of educational service workers in New York state, figures showed April 26.

Highlights of Jobless Claims for the Week Ended April 21:

• Jobless claims decreased by 24,000 to 209,000 (estimated 230,000)

• Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, dropped to 229,250 from the prior week’s 231,500.

• Claims in New York state plunged 18,402 on an unadjusted basis after surging 15,397 in the previous week.

Key Takeaways

The figures reflect seasonal volatility surrounding spring break, with educational service workers including cafeteria workers and bus drivers returning after filing claims in the prior period.

Stripping through this latest volatility, companies continue to say they’re struggling to find employees with the right mix of skills, with several regional manufacturing surveys this month showing a low availability.

It is prompting employers to retain staff. While the week-to-week numbers tend to be volatile, unemployment-benefits applications below the 300,000 tally are considered consistent with a healthy labor market.

Other Details

• Prior week’s reading was revised to 233,000 from 232,000

• Continuing claims declined by 29,000 to 1.84 million in the week ended April 14

• Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.3%.

• Colorado and Maine estimated jobless claims in latest week

With assistance by Jordan Yadoo