The Dallas Morning News

U.S. jobless claims decline to 50-year low

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WASHINGTON — The fewest people in nearly 50 years sought unemployme­nt benefits last week, a sign of a strong job market and an unusually low level of layoffs.

Yet the decline in applicatio­ns for jobless aid isn’t due solely to a tight employment picture. Many states have imposed stricter rules on their unemployme­nt insurance programs — from making it harder to qualify to reducing the duration of benefits to cutting payouts.

The combined effect has been to reduce the number of unemployed people who apply for and receive aid, economists say.

Weekly applicatio­ns for unemployme­nt benefits dropped 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 196,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. That is the lowest level since 1969. The fourweek average, a less volatile measure, fell to 207,000, the also lowest point in 50 years.

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