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More Americans sought unemployment benefits

The number of Americans, who filed for first time applications for unemployment benefits, rose last week. In the week to November 18 the applications recorded an increase of 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted value of 251,000, according to the US Department of Labor. The value is a little bit higher that the economists forecasts, who expected 250,000 applications for unemployment benefits.

The number of applications in the week to November 11 was 233,000 (Revised down from 235,000), which is the lowest level since 1973. The applications remain under 300,000 has 90 consecutive weeks, the longest series of the 70s of last century.

The four-week average value decreased to 251,000, which is the lowest since the first week of October. According to experts in the Ministry of Labour there is nothing unusual in the data.

The claims at such low levels show that employers are confident enough in the economy to hold onto their workers. The US unemployment rate is 4.9%, close to what economists consider full employment. The workers last month enjoyed the biggest pay raises in seven years, another sign the job market is healthy.

A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week’s data and that no states had been estimated. The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 2,000 to 251,000 last week.

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