Washington - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits was less than estimated last week and near a four-decade low, indicating the job market remains tight, Labour Department data showed on Thursday.
Highlights of jobless claims (week ended August 19)
• Initial jobless claims increased by 2k to 234k (est. 238k)
• Continuing claims unchanged at 1.954m in week ended August 12 (data reported with one-week lag)
• Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than weekly figure, fell to 237 750 from 240 500 in prior wee.
Firings remain historically low, as employers hold on to existing staff amid a shrinking pool of available workers and record-high openings.
Benefit claims may have declined earlier this month in part due to the end of seasonal retooling in the auto sector.
A robust labour market remains a primary driver of Americans’ improving attitudes about the economy and will help support consumer spending in the second half of the year.
• Prior week’s reading unrevised at 232 000
• Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits unchanged at 1.4%.
• No states or territories had estimated claims last week.
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