The U.S. labor market continues to show signs of tightening, with unemployment claims declining for the third straight week and benefit rolls matching the lowest level since 1973, Labor Department data showed Thursday.
HIGHLIGHTS OF JOBLESS CLAIMS (WEEK ENDED MAY 13)
Initial benefit filings decreased by 4k to 232k (est. 240k), the lowest since late February
Continuing claims fell by 22k to 1.898m in week ended May 6 (data reported with one-week lag)
Four-week average of initial claims declined to 240,750 from 243,500 in the prior week
Hiring managers remain more occupied with finding workers than trimming staff, with the headline jobless rate drifting below the Federal Reserve’s estimate of full employment. Benefit claims have been a particularly durable indicator of tightness in the labor market, with initial filings holding at lower than 300,000 for more than two years. The gauge contributes to Fed policy makers’ case that the economy can withstand further increases in the benchmark interest rate this year.