US Jobless Claims Fell Last Week to Lowest Level Since 1973

Labor News

A job seeker filling out an application at a job fair in Miami Lakes, Florida, in January. PHOTO: LYNNE SLADKY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal by Sarah Chaney and Harriet Torryon March 29, 2018.

The number of Americans claiming new unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since 1973, signaling continued health in the labor market.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the US, fell by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 215,000 in the week ended March 24, the Labor Department said Thursday. This marked the lowest level for claims since they hit 214,000 in January 1973.

“When adjusted for population growth, claims have never been lower, signaling that the bar for firms to let people go is now very high,” wrote Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, in a note to clients.

Weekly jobless claims have held below 300,000 for about three years, the longest streak since 1970—when the US population was far smaller than it is today. …

WSJ 3/29

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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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