Weekly unemployment claims are expected to hold near their lowest levels since the 1960s, with a strong labor market and improving levels of unemployment remaining a bright spot in the U.S. economy.The Labor Department is set to release its latest weekly jobless claims report Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET.
First-time filings for unemployment benefits are expected to hold below 200,000 for a ninth consecutive week. As of early April, the four-week moving average for new jobless claims, which smooths out volatility in the weekly data, stood at just 172,250. Throughout 2019 before the pandemic, new claims averaged about 218,000 per week. And last month, jobless claims reached their lowest level since 1968 at 166,000.
Continuing claims, which tally the number of Americans collecting benefits for multiple weeks, have also declined sharply to reach multi-decade lows. These came in below 1.5 million for the first time since 1970 in last week’s report.
The weekly jobless claims data have served as an ongoing reminder of the tightness in the current labor market. Job openings have far outpaced new hires — a phenomenon many companies this quarterly earnings season have been quick to acknowledge.