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October 20, 2017

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US jobless claims at 44-year low

CLAIMS for US jobless benefits fell to a 44-year low early this month as labor markets recovered from the damage of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, government data showed yesterday.

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.

With layoffs at record lows, the tight jobs market could also strengthen the case for a December interest rate rise by the Federal Reserve, where policymakers remain divided over the degree of slack in labor markets and the dangers of inflation.

For the week ending last Saturday, new claims for jobless insurance dropped by 22,000 from the prior week to a seasonally adjusted 222,000, the lowest level since March of 1973. Analysts had been expecting a drop of only 8,000 claims.

Weekly claims have now been below the symbolic level of 300,000 for 139 weeks, or more than two and a half years, the longest such stretch recorded since 1970.


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