Jobless Claims At Four-Decade Low

JOBLESSFilings for U.S. unemployment benefits are hovering near the lowest levels in four decades, a sign the strong labor market will bolster U.S. growth.

Jobless claims rose by 3,000 to 270,000 in the week ended August 1, a report from the Labor Department showed on Thursday in Washington. The median forecast of 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 272,000. The 255,000 reading two weeks earlier was the lowest since November 1973.

Firings are at historically low levels as employers hold on to more workers in response to increased demand following a slump in early 2015. More hiring would help convince Federal Reserve policy makers that the economy can withstand an increase in the benchmark interest rate this year.

?Firms were a little nervous by softer demand at the turn of the year, but if they thought it would last, you wouldn?t see claims this low,? Samuel Coffin, an economist at UBS Securities LLC in New York, said before the report.

Economists? estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from claims of 262,000 to 280,000. The previous week?s figure was unrevised at 267,000.

No states estimated data last week and there was nothing unusual in the report, according to the Labor Department.

The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly numbers, decreased to 268,250 last week from 274,750.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits fell by 14,000 to 2.26 million in the week ended July 25. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.7 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

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