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Jobless Claims Slip Back Below 300,000

Published by: Mike Goldman on 4th Dec 2014 | View all blogs by Mike Goldman

Jobless Claims Slip Back Below 300,000

Initial claims for unemployment assistance fell back below 300,000 last week, after climbing above that threshold for the first time in almost three months in the week prior. According to a report issued Thursday by the US Labor Department, first-time filings fell by 17,000 in the week ended November 28 to a seasonally adjusted 297,000. With the latest report, claims have now been under 300,000 for eleven of the past twelve weeks. The trend is encouraging to economists, as it suggests employers are holding on to more of their workers and even considering ramping up hiring as the economy continues to improve. In year-over-year terms, the so-called four-week moving average of claims has dropped nearly 10 percent, suggesting the trend is becoming long-term.

With claims already below 300,000, economists do not expect sharp declines in the number of claims to continue, especially with tens of thousands of seasonal workers in line to be let go in the coming weeks. Claims below 300,000, however, are indicative of strong hiring conditions, and the numbers seem to confirm that correlation. So far this year, employers have added an average of 228,500 jobs per month, placing this year on a trajectory to be the best for hiring since 1999.Last year, employers only added an average of 194,000 jobs per month, and the nation's jobless rate stood at 7.2 percent. As of October, the unemployment rate had fallen all the way to 5.8 percent, and economists expect the November jobs report, due Friday, to show the economy added another 225,000 jobs in November. 

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