United States unemployment claims fall to 222000, lowest in 44 years

Lloyd Doyle
October 19, 2017

USA initial jobless claims were down 22,000 from the previous week's level to 222,000, compared with expectations for a drop to 240,000.This marked the lowest level for initial claims since March 31, 1973 when it was 222,000.

The number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since Richard Nixon was president.

The Federal Reserve reported this week that U.S. labor markets were experiencing "widespread" labor shortages, with employers struggling to fill open positions, particularly in transportation and construction - but wage increases have been notably stagnant. But the Labor Department said that Hurricanes Irma and Maria have disrupted the ability of people to file claims in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Hurricane Irma caused Georgia's job numbers to fall and unemployment claims to rise in September, however. Claims numbers have remained below 300,000 a week for more than two and a half years.

The new figures pointed to strong October job creation as the data were collected during the survey week for the Labor Department's monthly employment report.


The four-week moving average came in at 248,250, a decline of 9,500 from the previous week's slightly upwardly (250) revised 257,750 average.

The Labor Department has a larger lag in measuring the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs, but for the week ending September 30 it was down by 40,371 to 1,612,076 people.

The unemployment rate dipped to 4.2% in September, the lowest reading in 16 years, despite USA nonfarm employers shedding jobs for the first time since September 2010.

The recent hurricanes continue to impact data collection in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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