Jobless-benefits claims drop to 247,000
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.