Fiji Time: 3:04 AM on Thursday 22 February

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Jobless claims drop

Reuters
Saturday, February 10, 2018

THE number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, dropping to its lowest level in nearly 45 years as the labour market tightened further, bolstering expectations of faster wage growth this year.

The second straight weekly decline in claims reported by the Labour Department yesterday also pointed to strong job growth momentum, which could further drive the unemployment rate lower.

"The extremely low level of claims is a sign of tightness in the labour market and suggests that February is shaping up to be another solid month for job creation," said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits decreased 9000 to a seasonally adjusted 221,000 for the week ended February 3, the Labour Department said. Claims fell to 216,000 in mid-January, which was the lowest level since January 1973.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 232,000 in the latest week.

Last week marked the 153rd straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a strong labour market. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labour market was much smaller.








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