Jobless aid applications fell to 3-month low of 232000

Gladys Abbott
May 19, 2017

The number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits fell last week for the third consecutive time, the latest sign of steady job creation.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits decreased 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 232,000 for the week ended May 13, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, which evens out weekly volatility, decreased last week to 240,750.

In this Thursday, March 3, 2016, file photo, people sit through an employment orientation class at the Georgia Department of Labor office in Atlanta.

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Applications are considered a proxy for layoffs. Overall, the initial and continuing claims data give a picture of rebounding USA labor market conditions. That's the longest such streak since 1970.

Continuing claims fell by 22,000 to 1.898 million in week ended May 6. The figure has fallen 12 per cent in the past year.

Hiring managers remain more occupied with finding workers than trimming staff, with the headline jobless rate drifting below the Federal Reserve's estimate of full employment. That has resulted in an increase of consumer spending which is cranking up the economy and driving the need for more workers.

The total number of people seeking unemployment insurance also to fell to its lowest level in nearly 30 years, in line with the record low unemployment rate. Claims fell 11,000 between the April and May survey periods suggesting further job gains this month. The economy grew at an anemic 0.7 percent annualized rate in the first quarter.

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