Weekly Jobless Claims Holding at Historic Levels

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New claims for unemployment benefits fell by 3,000 in the week ending June 16, according to the weekly report from the U.S. Department of Labor. The seasonally adjusted total fell to 218,000 from the prior week’s revised total of 221,000. The Bloomberg consensus was expecting the total to come in at 220,000.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 9 was 1,723,000, an increase of 22,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The four-week moving average was 1,722,500, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average. Note that this is the lowest level for this average since December 8, 1973, when it was 1,715,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2% for the week ending June 9, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate.

One of the key takeaways from this report was that applications for unemployment benefits have hovered near the lowest levels in almost five decades and reflect employers’ desire to retain staff as the labor market tightens.

At the same time, companies are also pulling in workers from across the market, with the unemployment rates of blacks at a record low and Hispanics near all-time lows.