U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Total 233,000

April 17, 2018

The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to 233,000. The number reflects sustained labor market strength despite a sharp slowdown in job growth in March. Economists had been expecting to see claims falling to 230,000.

The current labor market is considered to be at or near full employment. The unemployment rate is now at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. The latest forecast from the Fed is predicting an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent by the end of this year.

The minutes from the latest Fed meeting (March 20-21) offered an upbeat assessment of the jobs market, noting that “most participants described labor market conditions as strong.” The minutes also noted signs of growing labor shortages in some segments of the economy.

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