A key measure of the jobs market just fell to its lowest level since 1973
- Initial jobless claims fell to a 44-year low last week.
- Initial claims are an advance indicator of the pace of layoffs and the overall strength of the labor market, since some people need government benefits to sustain themselves right after they lose a job.
- The recent hurricanes continue to impact data collection in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Initial jobless claims fell last week to their lowest level since 1973.
The number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time totaled 222,000, the lowest since March 31, 1973, according to the Department of Labor.
First-time jobless claims are a leading indicator of the labor market’s strength, since people file for benefits not long after they lose their jobs.
"It probably won’t last," said Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, in a note. "The trend before the hurricanes was steady, in the high 230s — but it does serve as a very forceful reminder that the labor market is in very good shape."
Claims recently spiked to nearly 300,000 following the hurricanes that slammed into the Southeastern US. The report noted that hurricane-related disruptions continue to affect data collection in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
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