Applications for US jobless aid fell to 3-month low of 232K

Xavier Trudeau
Mai 19, 2017

In an upbeat sign for the labor market, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing another unexpected drop in first-time claims for US unemployment benefits in the week ended May 13th.

The economy's brightening prospects were further boosted by other data on Thursday showing a sharp acceleration in factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region this month. The continued strength in the labor market may supported Fed's decision to raise interest rate on the meeting next month.

Applications for weekly unemployment aid fell 4,000 to 232,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Claims have now decreased for three consecutive weeks.

Economists polled by MarketWatch has expected new claims to total a seasonally adjusted 240,000 in the seven days stretching from May 7 to May 13.

Benefit claims have been a particularly durable indicator of tightness in the labor market, with initial filings holding at lower than 300,000 for more than two years. That's the longest such streak since 1970.

What's more, the average number of people receiving unemployment benefits over the past month has fallen to the lowest level since 1974.

The week ended 13 May is the survey week for the May employment report and the report released shows a rebound over the April survey week, when claims were at 244k. Claims fell 11,000 between the April and May survey periods suggesting further job gains this month. The economy created 211,000 jobs in April. Investors has anticipated two more rate hikes this year.

KEY DRIVERS: Hiring has remained steady, despite the first quarter's slow growth.

But a stock market sell-off amid uncertainty over President Donald Trump's political future could jeopardize further monetary policy tightening.

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