U.S. jobless claims held at 43-year low last week
WASHINGTON—The number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits held at a four-decade low last week, a sign employers are holding on to workers as the labor market tightens.
Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, were unchanged at 246,000 in the week ended Oct. 8, the Labor Department said Thursday. The latest two weeks registered at the lowest level since November 1973.
That suggests employers are anxious to hold on to workers, even though their pace of hiring has slowed since last year.
“When the labor market gets very tight, firms do not want to lay off anyone that they suspect they might want to rehire at some point because chances are, they will not be available when the firm tries to call them back,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 254,000 new claims last week. Claims for the week ended Oct. 1 were revised down from an initially reported 249,000.
The four-week moving average, which smooths out week-to-week volatility in the claims data, fell by 3,500 to 249,250 last week. That was also the lowest reading since November 1973.