Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Fall to 49-Year Low

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings, Mont., Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.
AP Photo/Jim Urquhart

It’s been nearly half a century since layoffs were this low.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits, a proxy for layoffs, fell by 1,000 to 204,000 in the week ended September 9, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists had expected claims to rise to 210,000, according to Bloomberg’s Econoday.

The four week average of new claims, considered a better gauge of the labor market because it smoothes out week to week volatility, also fell, declining 2,000 to 208,000. That is also at a 49 year low.

People remaining on the unemployment rolls for more than a week, fell by 15,000 to 1.7 million. This is the lowest level of continuing claims since 1973.


Jobless claims have been closely watched this year for signs of stress caused by trade disputes. Record lows indicate that tariffs are not costing jobs for American workers.


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