Weekly Jobless Claims Fall, Continued Claims at 7-Year Low

Unemployment Benefits
Matt Rourke/AP
By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, pointing to a sustained improvement in labor market conditions.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 for the week ended Aug. 16, the Labor Department said Thursday. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 300,000 last week. A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing the state level data.

The four-week average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 4,750 to 300,750. But at that level, it remains consistent with solid job growth and claims are back at their pre-recession levels.

The claims report covered the period during which the government surveyed employers for August's nonfarm payrolls data. The four-week average of claims fell 8,500 between the July and August survey periods, suggesting another month of relatively strong job gains.

The jobless claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell 49,000 to 2.50 million in the week ended Aug. 9. That was the lowest level since June 2007.

The unemployment rate for people receiving jobless benefits was 1.9 percent for the sixth consecutive week.

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Iselin007

The job statistics have become a joke. Americans don't feel as postive as the some of these surveys claim. In many state's the people are not seeing all the hoopla. Over 90 million not in the labor force age 16 and over.

August 21 2014 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Iselin007's comment
pgile

Throw out a number and see if it sticks, eh? 45 million of those people are 65 or older, 15 million are in college. How many more millions are 16-19 and still in high school. And I suppose we should just ignore the millions of married women and men who voluntarily stay home to raise children. Talk about joke statistics -- you take the cake.

August 21 2014 at 12:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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