U.S. Jobless Claims Fall to 2-Month Low

Washington, Dhu-Alhijjah 20, 1437, September 22, 2016, SPA — The number of people filing initial applications for U.S. state unemployment benefits fell last week to a two-month low, the government reported Thursday, indicating labor-market strength that could prompt the Federal Reserve (Fed) to raise interest rates by December.
The Labor Department said jobless claims fell 8,000 to 252,000 last week, the lowest level since mid-July. It was the 81st consecutive week that claims remained below 300,000, a level associated with strong labor-market conditions.
The four-week moving average of claims—a better measure of labor-market trends because it smoothes weekly volatility—fell 2,250 to 258,000 last week. The four-week average fell nearly 7,000 between August and September, suggesting an acceleration in job growth this month. Payrolls increased by 151,000 jobs in August.
While the pace of job growth has slowed from a monthly average of 186,000 in the first seven months of the year, it well above the 100,000 that economists say is needed to absorb new workers in the job market.
Thursday’s jobless-claims report also showed the total number of people still receiving unemployment benefits fell 36,000 last week to 2.11 million.
The claims data came one day after the Fed left interest rates unchanged but strongly signaled it could raise borrowing costs by the end of the year, citing a recent acceleration in economic growth and continued strength in the labor market.
17:38 LOCAL TIME 14:38 GMT