Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal by Eric Morath on December 13, 2018.
The number of Americans filing applications for new unemployment benefits fell last week by the most in 3½ years, likely easing concerns that a recent run up in jobless claims signaled cracks forming in the strong labor market.
Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the US, decreased by 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 206,000 in the week ended December 8, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the largest weekly decline since April 2015 and pushed the level of claims to just above a 49-year low touched in September.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected 225,000 new claims last week.
The four-week moving average of claims, a steadier measure, fell last week by 3,750 to 224,750.
Claims for the December 1 week were revised up by 2,000 to 233,000. …