US Jobless Claims Drop to Lowest Level Since 1973

Labor News

Company representatives speak with job seekers at a job fair in Pittsburgh recently. First-time claims for jobless benefits have held below 300,000 – a level typically associated with robust labor conditions – for 59 consecutive weeks. The Associated Press

Reprinted from The New York Times by the Associated Press on March 2, 2017.

Just 223,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, fewest in nearly 44 years.

THE NUMBERS: The Labor Department says unemployment claims dropped by 19,000 from 242,000 the previous week to the lowest level since March 1973 when Richard Nixon was president. The four-week average, which is less volatile, fell by 6,250 to 234,250, lowest since April 1973.

Overall, 2.07 million Americans are collecting unemployment benefits, down more than 7 percent from a year ago.

THE TAKEAWAY: Unemployment claims are a proxy for layoffs. They have come in below 300,000 a week for two straight years, the longest such streak since 1970. …

NY Times 3/2

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Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at

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