The number of claims for unemployment benefits plunged to its lowest level since 1973 as the job market remains strong, according to Department of Labor figures released Thursday.
The latest figures show that the unemployment rate among benefit-eligible recipients declined from 1.4 percent to 1.3 percent.
Bloomberg Markets reported that the larger-than-expected decrease reflects a decline in jobless claims in the hurricane-affected states of Texas and Florida as workers in those regions continue to return to their jobs.
The storms led to an increase in unemployment benefit applications in those states in late August and early September shortly after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma made landfall.
The decrease in jobless claims is especially striking, as unemployment benefits claims reached a two-year high following Hurricane Harvey and spiked further as people in hurricane-affected areas struggled to recover from the aftermath of the natural disasters.
The historically low levels of jobless claims reflect a desire by employers to retain qualified employees as the country deals with a shortage of qualified workers.