The job market may be holding steady after all, as applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since April — even though hiring slowed in May.
Initial claims were 259,000, seasonally adjusted, a decrease of 18,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 277,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The 4-week moving average was 267,000, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 269,250.
There were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims. This marks 68 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1973.
“Low levels of claims typically coincide with ongoing job creation,” The Wall Street Journal wrote. “But hiring slowed in May, with employers adding just 38,000 jobs, the weakest gain since September 2010.”
Federal Reserve officials are monitoring the jobs reports to determine when to raise interest rates again, but Chairwoman Janet Yellen told Congress this week that it was “important not to overreact to one or two reports, and several other timely indicators of labor market conditions still look favorable,” including signs that wage growth may finally be picking up pace, according to the WSJ.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.6% for the week ending June 11, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate, the Labor Department said. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 11 was 2,142,000, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week’s revised level.