US Unemployment Benefits Filings Hit a New 49-Year Low


The number of Americans who filed for new unemployment applications in mid-September has dropped to a new 49-year low, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

Hurricane Florence may have partly weighed on the numbers considering that most of the people affected by the storm in North Carolina and South Carolina were not able to apply for jobless benefits last week.

J.P. Morgan Chase economist Daniel Silver spoke to the WSJ, “We think that Hurricane Florence will create temporary disruptions in the labor market that should be evident in upcoming reports on jobless claims. But the claims data available to date signal that the job market was strong prior to any storm-related disruptions.”

Initial claims for jobless benefits slumped by 3,000 to 201,000 for the week ended September 15. This is lowest level since November 1969, and below the 208,000 claims that analysts had projected. The Labor Department also said that the four-week average of new claims, went down to 2,250 to 205,750, which is the lowest level figure since 1969.

Job openings reached a record high of 6.9 million in July, strengthening the labor market further. The US economy created 201,000 new jobs in August as annual wage growth hit its biggest gain since 2009. The number of Americans already receiving unemployment benefits also fell by 55,000 to 1.65 million in the week ended September 8. That is also a 45-year low.

The ongoing trade war between the United States and China appears to have no significant impact on the US economy thanks to increasing job openings in the promising steel industry. However, economists have raised concerns that the escalating trade tensions between the two countries could have a devastating effect on the labor market.

China has already taken the war to a higher level by slapping by slapping $60 billion tariffs on US imports earlier this week, in retaliation to President Donald Trump’s latest tariffs of $200 billion on goods coming from the Asian giant.

As the job market continues to blossom, the US Federal Reserve is highly expected to increase interest rates in the coming days, as way of preventing rapid inflation.