Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits over the past month than at any time in more than 14 years, a sign the strengthening U.S. economy is buoying the labor market.
The four-week average of jobless claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, fell to 281,000 in the period ended Oct. 25, the lowest since May 2000, from 281,250 the week before, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. Compared with the prior week, applications for benefits rose by 3,000 to 287,000.
Rising demand is prompting employers to hold the line on dismissals, laying the ground for faster hiring and wage growth. Better employment prospects are lifting consumers’ moods, making it more likely that households will increase spending.
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