The great American jobs machine is up and running again.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 24,000 to 209,000 for the week ended April 21, after seasonal adjustments. That is the lowest level since 1969.
Unemployment claims were much lower than expected. Economists had expected 230,0000 claims.
In March, job creation appeared to sputter. The economy added just 103,000 jobs, the fewest in six months. This left open the question whether job creation was slowing down or whether March’s figure was just payback for February’s explosive increase in hiring.
The latest unemployment numbers suggest that March’s slowdown was temporary rather than a shift into slower hiring.
Still, with unemployment so low, it is doubtful the economy can continue to create jobs at the pace seen over the past 15 months.