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US jobless claims at record low levels in nearly five decades

US Labor Department released its weekly jobless claims numbers. The latest data shows that the labor market remains buoyant in the US. The number of people who filed for jobless insurance benefits reduced 10,000 to 210,000 for the week ended February 24 vs. prior week’s level, which is the lowest number reported in over 48 years.

US jobless claims

On the continuing claims front, the number of people who are already receiving benefits surged 57,000 to 1.93 million for the week ended February 17. Average monthly fresh claims decreased 5,000 to 220,500 last week, the least number recorded in the last 48 years.

The report also added that the claims filed by beneficiaries were on the higher side from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands due to the hurricane turmoil witnessed by them.

For the uninitiated, anything below the 300,000 range in claims is a harbinger of the healthy job market. The tightening of labor market along with improved wages would result in the higher consumer spending. It’s worth noting that the unemployment rate now stands at 4.1%, which is at a 17-year low level.

With rising inflation and the resilient labor market, there are chances for Fed coming up with interest rate hikes to keep the macro factors intact. For 2018, Federal Reserve expects to do at least three hikes. With higher consumer spending and increased inflation, one would not be surprised even if there are four hikes in this year.

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