Unemployment Claims Fall to Lowest Level Since 1973
Claims for jobless aid drop by 22K to 222K
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 19, 2017 12:40 PM CDT
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In this Oct. 3, 2017, photo, job seekers wait in line at a job fair in Sweetwater, Fla.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

(Newser) – The number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since Richard Nixon was president, the AP reports. The Labor Department said Thursday that claims for jobless aid dropped by 22,000 to 222,000, the fewest since March 1973. The less volatile four-week average slid by 9,500 to 248,250, the lowest since late August. The overall number of Americans collecting unemployment checks dropped to 1.89 million, the lowest since December 1973 and down nearly 9% from a year ago.

Unemployment claims are a proxy for layoffs. The low level suggests that employers are confident enough in the economy to hold onto workers. The unemployment rate last month hit a 16-year low of 4.2%. Employers cut 33,000 jobs in September—the first monthly drop in nearly seven years—but only because Hurricanes Harvey and Irma rattled the economies of Texas and Florida; hiring is expected to bounce back. With the economic impact of Harvey and Irma fading, claims dropped in Texas and Florida as more people returned to work. But the Labor Department said that Hurricanes Irma and Maria have disrupted the ability of people to file claims in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.


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