By Antea Gatalica
The number of new claims for unemployment insurance fell to 255,000, a decrease of 7,000, in the week ended Oct. 10, and the lowest level reported by the U.S. Labor Department since 1973.
The 4-week moving average was 265,000, compared with a downwardly revised 267,250 reported the week prior.
Economists say jobless claims of less than 300,000 point to an improving job market. But recent claims data appear to be at odds with disappointing increases in nonfarm payroll employment the past two months. September nonfarm payrolls rose just 142,000, while August was revised downward to 136,000.
Some economists expect an improvement in October’s report, scheduled for release on Nov. 6.
“Plugging these figures into our models suggest payroll growth is accelerating in October, growing in the 225,000 – 250,000 range. In turn, this should raise the odds the markets are placing on a rate hike by December,” a First Trust Advisors L.P. report said Thursday.
The insured unemployment rate held at 1.6 percent, unchanged from the week ended Oct. 3. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment from that week was 2,158,000. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since Nov. 4, 2000, when it was 2,110,000.
Four states saw increases larger than 2,000 in initial claims the week ended Oct. 10; Texas experienced the largest change in claims, up 2,692, due to layoffs in the manufacturing, administrative and support and waste management and remediation service, transportation, and retail industries.