US jobless claims rise from 45-year low

The number of jobless claims in the United States rose from about a 45-year low. The total number of Americans who filled forms for unemployment benefits rose to a mark from a 45-year low point. But still it was less than that was expected because of tightened conditions in the labor market in the United States in recent times. Claims that were initially made for state unemployment benefits increased by 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 233,000 for the week that ended on the 20th of January 2018. This is per reports from the Labor Department on Thursday. The claims fell to about 16,000 in the previous week which was the lowest since the year 1973.

The rise of the claims to about 240,000 in the latest week had already been forecast in the Economists polled by Reuters. Claims have been on the rise in a rapid pace in the recently because of the difficulties in the adjustment in the data for seasonal rise & fall at the end of the year 2017 and at the beginning of the start of the New Year. The data was also impacted due to unseasonably cold temperatures. The Labor Department stated that the claims for Maine were estimated and it also stated that the procedures of taking the claims in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands had still not returned to normal even after some months since the territories were devastated by the two Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The previous week marked the 151st straight week where the claims remained below the 300,000 mark which is associated with a strong labor market. This is actually the longest such stretch since the year 1970 at the time when the labor market was much smaller. John Ryding, who is the chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York mentioned that it is the same tension of the labor market and the employers are extremely hesitant in firing current workers which not only reflects the present positive business environment but also a great difficulty in finding fresh qualified replacements. The US dollar index remained almost the same against a basket of currencies after the data came to light. The prices of US Treasuries were trading mostly weaker, while US stock index futures were higher.

February 20, 2018 - 12:00
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