Number of Americans Receiving Unemployment Benefits Falls to 44-Year Low

US initial claims for unemployment benefits have been below 300,000 for 97 consecutive weeks
AFP/File Frederic J. Brown

The number of American workers receiving unemployment benefits has fallen to its lowest level in 44 years, according to government sources.

The Department of Labor reported that 1.87 million Americans were receiving benefits at the end of December. The number marks the lowest level of applicants since 1973, the Washington Examiner reported.

The Department of Labor also noted that the largest number of newer filings for benefits came as a result of a destructive hurricane season that caused massive damage to businesses in several southern states and Puerto Rico. But the number of new applications was still amazingly low.

“The ultra-low claims have been among the most encouraging indicators about the economy, reassuring Fed officials that they are on the right track by slowing raising interest rates and withdrawing the stimulus programs they put in place during the recession,” the paper reported.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported last week that the economy added 148,000 jobs in December and noted that the unemployment rate remains at 4.1 percent.

Indeed, many companies were in a rush to outdo each other by offering raises and year-end bonuses on the heels of the passage of President Donald Trump’s tax reform bill.

More than 100 American companies gave employees bonuses after Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Several corporations, such as AT&T, Comcast, and Nationwide, also increased their 401(k) matching rate, raised their minimum wages, and increased domestic investment based on their enthusiasm with the Republican tax bill.

The latest company to offer greater benefits to employees is retail giant Walmart, which announced a one-time bonus, higher wages, and other new benefits to its 2.1 million employees.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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