The number of Americans who filed unemployment applications fell to more than a 49-1 / 2-year-old last week, pointing to sustained economic strength.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to seasonally adjusted 192,000 for the week ending April 13, the lowest level since September 1969, said the Ministry of Labor on Thursday. Data for the previous week was revised to show 1000 more applications received than previously reported.
The requirements have now declined in five straight weeks. Economists who were asked by Reuters had expected claims to rise to 205,000 in the past week.
The Ministry of Labor said no states were estimated last week. The requirements tend to be volatile around this time of year due to the different timings of the Easter holiday and spring break.
The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better target for labor market trends as the week-to-week volatility is wiped out, dropped 6,000 to 201
Claim data covered the survey week for the non-wage pay part in April's employment report. The four-week average of claims decreased by 19,250 between March and April of the investigation week. This indicates a solid growth in employment after the wage race with 196,000 jobs in March.
Though the trend of hiring has slowed, the employment gains over the approximately 100,000 needed per month are to keep up with the growth of the working age population. Unemployment is 3.8 percent, close to 3.7 percent of the Federal Reserve officials project, by the end of the year.
A report by the Fed on Wednesday showed "modest to moderate growth" in work in a majority of US central districts in April. The Fed's "Beige Book" report on anecdotal business information gathered from contacts nationwide showed noticeable worker shortages "most often in manufacturing and construction."
Thursday's claim report showed the number of people who received benefits after a first week of assistance declined 63,000 to 1.65 million for the week ended April 6. The four-week moving average of the so-called continued receivables fell 22,750 to 1,71 million.