U.S. jobless claims at three-week low amid tight labor market

(Bloomberg) – 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 Thursday.

Highlights of Jobless Claims (Week Ended April 14)

Initial filings decreased by 1k to 232k (est. 230k) Continuing claims fell by 15k to 1.863m 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.

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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 Wednesday 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 following 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