Job­less-ben­e­fits claims drop to 247,000

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - — The As­so­ci­ated Press

WASH­ING­TON — Fewer Amer­i­cans ap­plied for un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits last week.

Weekly un­em­ploy­ment ap­pli­ca­tions fell by 3,000 to a sea­son­ally ad­justed 247,000, the La­bor Depart­ment said Thurs­day. The less volatile four-week av­er­age rose by 2,250 to 245,750. The num­ber of peo­ple col­lect­ing un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits has fallen 8.8 per­cent over the past 12 months to 1.9 mil­lion.

The job mar­ket ap­pears solid as the U.S. en­ters its ninth year of re­cov­ery from the re­ces­sion. Ap­pli­ca­tions are a close in­di­ca­tion of lay­offs. Em­ploy­ers are hold­ing onto work­ers with the ex­pec­ta­tion that busi­ness will con­tinue to im­prove. Job­less­ness claims have come in be­low 300,000 for 123 weeks in a row. That’s the long­est such stretch since 1970, when the U.S. pop­u­la­tion was much smaller.

The econ­omy is ex­pected to grow at roughly 2 per­cent after a weak start to 2017.

That would be roughly in line with an­nual gains dur­ing the re­cov­ery.

Con­sis­tent hir­ing has helped sus­tain the grad­ual re­cov­ery, although the ex­pan­sion is start­ing to show its age as the pace of job gains has slowed this year.

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