New applications for unemployment benefits rose a minimal 1,000 to 234,000 in the third week of May, the Department of Labor reported Thursday, driving the average for the past four weeks down to the lowest it has been in 44 years.
Thursday’s report beat forecasters’ expectations, which were for new jobless claims, adjusted for seasonal variations, to rise to 237,000.
And it provided a good sign for the economy. Few claims indicate that layoffs are rare, and that, in turn, net job creation is strong.
Investors and officials at the Federal Reserve pay attention to the jobless claims numbers because they are published every week, giving a frequently-update gauge of the health of the labor market. Recently, that metric has been strongly encouraging.
Originally published by the Washington Examiner.