Workers File Fewest Jobless Claims Since Nixon Era

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NOTD - 1969

The Balance

That was the last year the U.S. had a week with as few new unemployment claims, according to government data that showed initial filings falling off a cliff last week.

The 199,000 initial unemployment claims for the week through Nov. 20—a 71,000 claim plunge from the previous week’s revised level—were the fewest of any week since Nov. 15 in the year of the Apollo 11 moon landing and Woodstock, according to figures released by the Department of Labor Wednesday. The 52-year low for initial unemployment claims (far below the 248,000 economists at Moody’s Analytics had expected) is the latest report to underscore how good the job market is these days for workers, who are benefiting from near-record job openings and record wage increases.

The figure “suggests the labor market tightened further and that companies are extremely unwilling to release labor,” said Conrad DeQuadros and John Ryding, economists at Brean Capital, in a commentary.

But hold off on breaking out the Champagne—there’s a catch. The claims figures are adjusted to show trends without the influence of seasonal patterns, and the techniques can result in quirky data around the holidays, meaning that last week’s figure might just be a statistical fluke, economists said.

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