The number US jobless claims fell last week, supported by the historically low level of cuts, suggesting that the labor market continues to tighten. The number of applications for unemployment benefits fell by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 in the week to January 14, according to the data of Labor Department. The expectations of economists were more pessimistic to a level of 250,000 new applications.
The more reliable indicator that takes into account the cuts last month, fell to its lowest level in over four decades. The Four-week average value which smooths out volatility, fell by 10,250 to 246,750 claims filed last week, which is the lowest level since November 1973.
The steady decline in layoffs coincided with the long period of steady employment growth. The economy added an average of 180,000 jobs per month in 2016, although the pace has become more moderate in December, when employers added 156,000 jobs. The rate of unemployment was 4.7% last month, ending 2016 at its lowest level at the end of the year in about a decade.
The number of claims for the previous week was also revised up by 2,000 to 249,000.
According to the analysts the job growth is still more than strong enough to keep the unemployment rate trending down.
The recent data of jobless claims support the position of the Federal Reserve that the economy is close to full employment and strong enough to withstand further increases in the base rate.
Also the Labor Department said that the number of permanent unemployment claims, which reflect the benefits of remaining without work for more than a week, fell by 47,000 to 2,046 million during the seven days to January 7. The data for this kind of applications are submitted a week late.