Jobless claims fell last week amid strong U.S. labor market

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(Bloomberg) – U.S. filings for unemployment benefits fell last week and continuing claims dropped to the lowest level since 1973, indicating the job market remains solid, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of jobless claims (week ended Oct. 13)
Jobless claims decreased by 5k to 210k (est. 211k) Continuing claims fell by 13k to 1.64m in week ended Oct. 6 (data reported with one-week lag) Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, increased to 211,750 from 209,750

Key takeaways
While no states had estimated claims last week, the Labor Department said filings in Florida were affected by Hurricane Michael and North Carolina and South Carolina felt the effects of Hurricane Florence. Filings fell in all three states.

Michael, which made landfall on Oct. 10 in Florida’s panhandle, disrupted offshore oil production and other economic activity in large swathes of the region including Georgia and South Carolina.

While claims may remain volatile in coming weeks, the impact of Florence -- which struck North Carolina and South Carolina in mid-September -- is fading. Economists predict the weather impact will be temporary, based on the pattern around previous major storms such as Harvey and Irma in 2017.

The data also covered the week containing the 12th of the month, which coincides with the reference period for the Labor Department’s survey for the monthly jobs report. Applications for unemployment benefits remain largely consistent with a tight labor market and strong demand for workers.

Other details
Prior week’s reading was revised to 215,000 from 214,000 Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits remained at 1.2%.

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