US jobless claims drop to lowest level since 1973

FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2016 file photo, a restaurant posts a sign indicating they are hiring, in Miami. The Labor Department says unemployment claims dropped by 19,000 from 242,000 the previous week, Thursday, March 2, 2017, to the lowest level since March 1973 when President Richard Nixon was in the White House. The less volatile four-week average fell by 6,250 to 234,250, lowest since April 1973. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just 223,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, fewest in nearly 44 years.

THE NUMBERS: The Labor Department says unemployment claims dropped by 19,000 from 242,000 the previous week to the lowest level since March 1973 when Richard Nixon was president. The four-week average, which is less volatile, fell by 6,250 to 234,250, lowest since April 1973.

Overall, 2.07 million Americans are collecting unemployment benefits, down more than 7 percent from a year ago.

You may have heard larger numbers recently from President Trump who said there “are 96 million wanting a job and they can’t get (one). You know that story. The real number. That’s the real number.”

There are in fact 96 million Americans age 16 and older who are not in the labor force, CNBC reports. Of this, just 5.4 million say they want a job. The rest are retired, sick, disabled, running their households or going to school.

THE TAKEAWAY: Unemployment claims are a proxy for layoffs. They have come in below 300,000 a week for two straight years, the longest such streak since 1970. The low level of claims suggests that employers are confident enough in the economy to be holding on to staff. “Businesses are finding it ever-harder to recruit, so the bar for letting people go has risen,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a research note.

KEY DRIVERS: The U.S. job market is solid. Employers added a healthy 227,000 jobs in January. The unemployment rate is 4.8 percent, close to what economists consider full employment.

The Labor Department will release the February jobs report next week. Economists surveyed by the data firm FactSet forecast that the economy generated 175,000 jobs in February and that the unemployment rate slipped to 4.7 percent.

NBC4i.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s