Initial claims for unemployment dropped last week as unemployment hit a level not seen since 1973, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits, filed with each state, dropped 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted figure of 218,000 for the week that ended on June 9, the Labor Department said Thursday, according to CNBC.
The Labor Department said that nationwide, the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid declined 49,000 to 1.70 million in the week that ended on June 2. A similar measure that tracks four weeks at a time also fell, hitting 1.73 million. Both figures were the lowest on record since December 1973.
Experts said the numbers prove the economy is on track.
“The data continue to signal more than enough strength in employment growth to keep the unemployment rate trending down,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, according to MarketWatch.
“In short, the Fed was right to upgrade its assessment of economic growth to ‘solid’ in yesterday’s statement,” said Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics in Toronto, according to the New York Post.
Economists who were surveyed by Reuters had predicted claims would rise to 224,000 in the latest report.
The report adds to other reports showing strong job growth. Unemployment currently stands at 3.8 percent, the lowest in 18 years. In April, employers posted 6.7 million job openings.
Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta noted that the demand for workers now exceeds the number of people looking for work.
“Never before have we had an economy where the number of open jobs exceeds the number of job seekers,” Acosta said, according to a Department of Labor news release.
“This Administration is committed to ensuring that all Americans have the necessary skills to access good, family-sustaining jobs. With the lowest unemployment rate in over 18 years and 3.4 million jobs created since President Trump’s election, this is a great time be a job seeker in the United States.”
Although wage growth has not yet been a part of the economic upsurge, one expert said time will take care of that.
“Over time, when labor markets are strong and companies are hiring, we should see higher wages,” Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said at a media conference Wednesday, the Washington Examiner reported.
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor, the biggest decline in unemployment claims came from Michigan, followed by California, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
When May’s low unemployment was announced, the White House said there is no reason to believe the economy is done growing.
The White House, however, said this could be just the beginning.
“Business is coming alive,” White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said, according to CNBC. “This could go on for a whole bunch more years, in my judgment.”
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