American Unemployment Drops to its Lowest Level Since the 1970’s

According to the latest report from the Labor Department, the number of Americans that filed for unemployment is at its lowest it has been in the last 44 years. 

MarketWatch and Reuters had forecasted that 240,000 Americans would file for unemployment benefits during this time period, but the Labor Department announced that the number was closer to 222,000 in the week that ended Oct. 14. 

This is 22,000 less than what analysts and the Department expected.

Also, this is the lowest number of filings since March 1973. Back in the 70’s, the labor market was much smaller. Today, the jobless rate is at 4.2 percent.

“The larger-than-projected decrease in claims probably reflected difficulty adjusting for the Columbus Day holiday. At the same time, the report showed further declines in claims in hurricane-affected states. The storms initially led to a spike in applications in Texas and the southeastern U.S. in late August and early September,” writes Bloomberg. “The latest period also encompasses the reporting week that the Labor Department surveys for its October employment figures. Claims are at the lowest level in more than four decades, indicating employers have little desire to cut staffing levels amid a shortage of qualified workers.” 

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey have had a devastating impact on the economy. Non-farm payrolls have dropped by 33,000 in September due to 100,000 restaurant workers being temporarily unemployed.   

However, Americans receiving unemployment are doing so temporarily and continuing claims have also decreased.

“The claims report also showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid decreased 16,000 to 1.89 million in the week ended Oct. 7, the lowest level since December 1973,” writes Reuters. “The so-called continuing claims have now been below the 2 million mark for 27 straight weeks, pointing to diminishing labor market slack. The four-week moving average of continuing claims dropped 22,750 to 1.91 million, the lowest level since January 1974. That was the 25th consecutive week that this measure remained below the 2 million market.”

Author’s note: Since Trump has been in office, the economy has improved and these numbers prove it. However, the labor force participation rate fell dramatically under Obama, from 66% to below 63%. So, there are still people who have stopped looking for a job and are not counted in the “unemployment rate.” The “real” unemployment compared to 2010 standards is still almost 6%, so creating jobs should still be a priority. Businesses are also struggling with filling positions with qualified workers. So even though this is a step in the right direction, the Trump administration still has some work to do.

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