Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped more than forecast last week, consistent with a robust labor market, a Labor Department report showed Thursday.
The trend of subdued jobless claims indicates employers are placing a premium on workers with experience and skills. Together with steady hiring, that underscores a tighter job market. The monthly payrolls report, due from the Labor Department on Friday, is projected to show the economy added 190,000 workers in April after a 98,000 advance in March, and the unemployment rate hovered near the lowest in almost a decade.
Jobless claims decreased by 19,000 to a three-week low of 238,000 (the forecast was 248,000) in the week ended April 29. Decline included a 13,890 unadjusted drop in New York’s claims, partly reversing the 16,315 jump in the previous week.
The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits fell by 23,000 to 1.96 million in the week ended April 22 (data reported with one-week lag), lowest since April 2000.
Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, edged up to 243,000 from 242,250 in the prior week. The four-week average of continuing claims declined to 1.99 million, the lowest since November 1988. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.4 percent.
Louisiana was the only state to estimate initial claims last week.
There was nothing unusual in the broader data, according to the Labor Department.
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