For the third week in a row, U.S. jobless claims are at a half-century low, falling last week by 3,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 201,000, according to a news release from the Department of Labor on Thursday. This is the lowest level of the jobless average since December 6, 1969 when it was 204,500. In that year, the average cost of a new home was less than $40,000.
It is currently unclear what the effect of Hurricane Florence will have on the nation’s jobless figures. It may be weeks until those that lost their jobs during the storm are able to file for unemployment.
The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending on September 1 was totaled at 1,519,707, a decrease of 105,019 from the previous week, the federal department reported. There were 1,728,067 people claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2017.
Thursday’s report showed that the four-week moving average of claims, a steadier measure, fell last week by 2,250 to 205,750 – also the lowest level since 1969. The U.S. unemployment rate has remained at an 18-year low for the last few months.
Following the news of jobless claims, spurred by a wave of buying on Wall Street, U.S. stocks closed solidly higher on Thursday, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average above the all-time high it closed at in January – gaining 251 points, or one percent, ending at 26,657 points.
An economic index from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve bank also topped forecasts, according to a report from CBS News. The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators, designed to anticipate economic conditions three to six months out, rose 0.4 percent in August.
Global head of asset allocation for the Wells Fargo Investment Institute Tracie McMillion explained that, “With a [reading] that high, it’s very unlikely that there’s a recession on the horizon.” She added, “The U.S. market is responding to this foundation of economic strength. Pair that with a dollar that has started to depreciate a little bit, and that’s good news for U.S. companies that trade abroad.”
The Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth in the third quarter has been upgraded to an increase of 4.4 percent.