The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits fell to a nearly 50-year low last week, and retail sales increased by the most in 1.5 years in March.
The Department of Labor reported on Thursday that the week ending on April 13 saw 192,000 initial claims for unemployment benefits — a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised level.
“This is the lowest level for initial claims since September 6, 1969 when it was 182,000,” according to the DOL.
— jeroen blokland (@jsblokland) April 18, 2019
The statistic is particularly impressive, given that the population of the United States was approximately 202 million in 1969 and is 327 million now, so there are tens of millions more people in the labor market.
CNBC further noted, “The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 6,000 to 201,250 last week, the lowest reading since November 1969.”
Claims have declined for five straight weeks. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted that claims would rise last week to 205,000.
The trend of hiring has slowed, but job gains have remained around the 100,000 per month needed to keep up with the growth in the working-age population, CNBC reported.
According to the DOL, there were 1.65 million Americans receiving unemployment benefits for the week ending on April 6, a decrease of 63,000 from the previous week.
The number of jobs created since President Donald Trump took office is 5.1 million.
Reuters reported that U.S. retail sales surged 1.6 percent in March, based on numbers gathered by the Commerce Department.
This was the largest increase since Sept. 2017 and came after a drop of 0.2 percent in February.
“As a result of March’s strong core retail sales, the Atlanta Fed raised its first-quarter GDP estimate by four-tenths of a percentage point to a 2.8 percent annualized rate,” according to Reuters.
Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow made the case at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year that the economic policies enacted under the administration have led to the current boom.
“It’s the hottest economy in the world,” he said.
He recounted that the keys to unleashing economic growth have been lowering tax rates on businesses and individuals, cutting regulations, unleashing the energy sector, and negotiating new trade deals.
— The Hill (@thehill) March 1, 2019
“Our opponents are proposing to overturn America’s success and its greatness,” Kudlow contended. “It’s crazy stuff … high taxes, health care take over, impoverished poverty traps … socialism.”
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