Fewest jobless claims in six weeks show strong US job market

Filings for US unemployment benefits declined to a six-week low, indicating the job market remains tight, Labour Department figures showed on Thursday.

Highlights of jobless claims (Week ended June 16)

• Jobless claims decreased by 3k to 218k (est. 220k).

• Continuing claims rose by 22k to 1.723m in week ended June 9 (data reported with one-week lag).

• Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, dropped to 221 000 from 225 000.

Key takeaways

Applications for unemployment benefits have been hovering near the lowest levels in almost five decades and reflect employers' desire to retain staff as the labour market tightens.

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, according to the latest monthly jobs figures.

Economists may focus more on the latest results because they reflect job market conditions in the week containing the 12th of the month, which is the reference period for the Labour Department’s June jobs report due July 6.

Other details

• Prior week’s reading was revised to 221 000 from 218 000.

• Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.2%.

• Claims were estimated last week for Maine, according to the Labour Department.

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