Number of people collecting unemployment checks hits 17-year low, jobless claims show

Commentary, News

Initial jobless claims total 244,000 in mid-April

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The number of out-of-work people collecting unemployment checks fell to a 17-year low in April, underscoring the strongest U.S. labor market in years.

So-called continuing jobless claims fell by 49,000 to 1.98 million, marking just the second time they’ve fallen below 2 million during the current eight-year-old economic expansion. Continuing claims also dipped below the 2 million mark in March.

Source: FactSet/Labor Department
Continuing claims / In millions

The last time state unemployment offices sent out fewer checks to jobless Americans was in April 2000, the government reported Thursday.

Initial jobless claims, meanwhile, rose by 10,000 to a still-low 244,000 in the seven days stretching from April 9 to April 15. . The number of new applicants for unemployment benefits has registered less than 300,000 for 111 straight weeks, the longest streak since the early 1970s.

There is a “steady downtrend in place in the pace of layoffs,” noted Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities.

The more stable monthly average of jobless claims was a touch lower at 243,000. They fell by 4,250 from the prior week.

In recent trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.80% rose more than 180 points to 20,400. The Dow is up 3.3% so far in 2017.

Read this article in its original format at MarketWatch.com 


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