by: Elizabeth Balboa, Benzinga Staff Writer
Layoffs in the U.S. fell to a seasonally adjusted 209,000 last week — the lowest figure recorded by the Labor Department since President Richard Nixon’s first term.
Continuing claims, a count of ongoing collection of unemployment benefits, dropped by 29,000 to 1.84 million.
Why It’s Important
To be sure, economists had expected a decline from early April rates inflated by spring break and the Easter holiday, when some states allow certain professionals to collect unemployment.
Consensus, according to The Wall Street Journal and Reuters polls, forecasted between 228,000 and 230,000 claims.
The accelerated drop reflects labor market strength indicative of enduring economic expansion. Jobless claims, measured by applications for unemployment benefits, decline as the labor market approaches full employment.
Notably, the economy has averaged 202,000 new jobs per month this year against last year’s 182,000.
Historically, a tightening market brings increased probability of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike. The next Fed meeting will be May 1 and 2.
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