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

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(Bloomberg) – U.S. filings for unemployment benefits held near an almost five-decade low, indicating a robust job market, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Jobless claims decreased by 1,000 to 214,000 in the week ended Nov. 3, in line with the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists, from an upwardly revised reading the prior week. The four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure, declined to 213,750.

Key Insights

The data show the labor market remains tight as companies compete for workers amid the lowest unemployment in decades. The prior week’s claims were revised to 215,000 from 214,000. Continuing claims, which are reported with a one-week lag, fell by 8,000 to 1.62 million in the week ended Oct. 27. That was the lowest since July 1973. The share of Americans in the labor force claiming unemployment benefits held at 1.1%; that compares with a jobless rate of 3.7%. Florida and Georgia claims were affected by Hurricane Michael while North Carolina was impacted by Hurricane Florence

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The monthly jobs report last week showed that companies are starting to raise wages to retain and attract new talent, boding well for workers as the market tightens further. While the weekly figures tend to be volatile, they remain in-line with company reports and surveys highlighting the challenge of finding talent.

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