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April 19, 2018 10:45 AM, EDT

Jobless Claims at Three-Week Low Amid Tight Labor Market

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U.S. filings for unemployment benefits fell to a three-week low, continuing a trend that indicates a tight labor market, Labor Department figures showed April 19.

Highlights of Jobless Claims for the Week Ended April 14:

• Initial filings decreased by 1,000 to 232,000 (estimated 230,000).

• Continuing claims fell by 15,000 to 1.863 million in week ended April 7 (data reported with one-week lag).

• Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, rose to 231,250 from the prior week’s 230,000.

Key Takeaways

A widespread shortage of qualified workers is prompting employers to retain staff, keeping claims near the lowest level in 45 years.

While the week-to-week numbers can be volatile, benefits applications below 300,000 are considered consistent with a healthy labor market.

RELATED: IMF spots trouble for global economy after 2020

The latest results may get extra scrutiny from economists because they cover the week including the 12th of the month, the Labor Department’s reference period for its monthly employment report.

Recent reports show the job market remains robust, with the unemployment rate staying near the lowest since late 2000, though worker pay has yet to develop a sustained acceleration. The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report April 18 said that while companies were struggling to fill open jobs, wage growth was modest.

Other Details

• Unadjusted claims in New York state rose by 15,439 after a 3,287 increase; may reflect holidays in local schools.

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

• Colorado, Maine had estimated claims last week, according to the Labor Department.

With assistance by Jordan Yadoo