The U.S. Labor Department has announced that unemployment claims have gone down by the tens of thousands, according to new data released by the agency.
Initial jobless claims we down by 13,000 to an adjusted 239,000 in the week which ended November 18th.
Economic “experts” had been predicting that the number would continue to rise.
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In recent months claims were modestly elevated from near four-decade lows in the wake of several powerful late-summer hurricanes, then settled down to levels consistent with broad health in the U.S. labor market.
Weekly initial unemployment applications have held below 300,000 for more than two-and-a-half years. That’s the longest streak since claims remained below that level for about three years ended April 1970, though the U.S. population and workforce were far smaller in those days.
A low level of layoffs this year is consistent with other reports showing steady hiring. Hiring rebounded in October following a near-stall in September and the unemployment rate last month fell to 4.1%, according to Labor Department data.
The number of claims drawn by workers longer than a week rose by 36,000 to 1.90 million in the week ended Nov. 11. Still, the measure of workers on unemployment rolls has been trending near the lowest levels since 1973. Data on continuing claims are released with a one-week lag.
The Labor Department said damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria is still felt in some U.S. territories, but the disruption to claims data is decreasing.
The department said claims taking procedures “continue to be disrupted” in the Virgin Islands. Previously, it said procedures were severely disrupted.
Meanwhile, “the ability to take claims has improved in Puerto Rico,” the department said.
Happy Thanksgiving, Americans! Looks like you’ve got a healing economy as an early holiday gift, courtesy of President Trump.