Filings for US jobless benefits fall to 246,000

That marks 100 consecutive weeks of claims below 300,000

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 February, 2017, 10:21pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 February, 2017, 10:21pm

Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, marking 100 consecutive weeks of claims below 300,000. That is the longest streak since 1970 and indicates a healthy job market.

Jobless claims declined by 14,000 to 246,000 in the week to January 28, a Labour Department report showed on Thursday. The median forecast of economists surveyed called for 250,000. Continuing claims also fell.

The sustained trend of historically low jobless claims shows businesses are retaining existing employees as they face a shortage of skilled workers amid a tight labour market.

Employers also continue to hire at a solid pace. Monthly data due from the department on Friday is projected to show the economy added more jobs in January than the previous month.

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The jobless claims figure for the previous week was revised to 260,000 from an initially reported 259,000.

The latest stretch below 300,000 claims ranks behind the record 161-week period that ended in April 1970. The statistics began in 1967. Economists consider such a level consistent with a healthy labour market.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits fell by 39,000 to 2.06 million in the week to January 21. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.5 per cent.

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