U.S. jobless claims fall for third straight week to 48-year low

(Bloomberg) – U.S. filings for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell for a third straight week to a new 48-year low, indicating a tight job market, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of Jobless Claims (Week Ended Sept. 15)

Jobless claims decreased by 3k to 201k (est. 210k), lowest since November 1969, from unrevised 204k Continuing claims fell by 55k to 1.645m in week ended Sept. 8, lowest since August 1973 (data reported with one-week lag) four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, dropped to 205,750, lowest since December 1969, from 208,000

JobFair2.Bloomberg.jpg
A "Now Hiring" sign is displayed during a Job News USA career fair at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. The U.S. Department of Labor is scheduled to release initial jobless claims figures on May 19. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Key Takeaways

The decline in applications suggests that the September payrolls report may show another solid gain. The claims data, covering the week containing the 12th of the month, coincide with the reference period for the Labor Department’s survey for the monthly figures. Businesses are holding on to existing staff -- besides adding new employees -- amid a shortage of skilled workers.

The weekly figures may experience a temporary jump in coming weeks as damage and flooding from Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas disrupt economic activity. That would follow the pattern from previous major storms, such as Harvey and Irma in 2017.

Other Details

Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits unchanged at 1.2% Hawaii was only state with estimated claims last week, according to the Labor Department