Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Applications for US jobless aid fell to 3-month low of 232K

Applications for US jobless aid fell to 3-month low of 232K

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 total number of people seeking unemployment insurance also to fell to its lowest level in nearly 30 years, in line with the record low unemployment rate.

So-called continuing claims, or the number of people collecting jobless benefits, fell by 22,000 to 1.9 million in early May, the government said Thursday.

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Fewer people sought US unemployment benefits last week, a sign Americans are benefiting from solid job security. The labor market is close to full employment, with the unemployment rate at a 10-year low of 4.4 percent. The economy created 211,000 jobs in April after adding only 79,000 positions in March. Claims fell 11,000 between the April and May survey periods suggesting further job gains this month.

Labor market strength and tightening could allow the Fed to raise rates at its June 13-14 policy meeting.

KEY DRIVERS: Hiring has remained steady, despite the first quarter's slow growth.

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The U.S. dollar rose against a basket of currencies after the data while U.S. short-term interest rates futures turned lower.

The U.S. initial jobless claims continued to drop in May. For the week ended 6 May, continuing claims dropped below the 1.9 million mark to 1898k from an upwardly revised 1920k. Overall, the initial and continuing claims data give a picture of rebounding USA labor market conditions. The four-week moving average declined to 1.946mn from 1.966mn previously and the lowest level since January 1974.

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