US Layoffs Hold Steady as 2017 Winds Down

Labor News

Job seekers wait in line to enter a career fair in New York on December 7. PHOTO: SARAH BLESENER/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Reprinted from The Washington Post by Ben Leubsdorf on December 28, 2017.

The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits held steady last week near historically low levels, the latest evidence of health in the US economy as 2017 draws to a close.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the US, were a seasonally adjusted 245,000 in the week ended December 23, unchanged from the prior week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a modest decline to 240,000 new claims.

“This week’s claims data suggest no significant change in labor market conditions from a month ago, and we view them as consistent with healthy labor markets,” Barclays economist Blerina Uruci said in a note to clients.

The US economy is ending the year on firm footing. The unemployment rate was 4.1% in November, holding at a 17-year low. Output growth was solid in the second and third quarters, and forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers on Thursday projected a 2.4% growth rate for gross domestic product in the fourth quarter. …

Washington Post 12/28

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