The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits in early September fell to a nearly five-month low. The numbers: The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits around Labor Day fell sharply to a nearly five-month low of 204,000, an extremely low reading that was likely exaggerated by the holiday and possibly Hurricane Dorian. Initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, dropped 15,000 to 204,000 in the seven days ended Sept. 7, the government said Thursday.
That matches the third lowest level of the current economic expansion that began more than 10 years ago. The only time new claims have been lower was when they dipped below 200,000 in April around the Easter holiday. Economists polled by MarketWatch estimated new claims would total a seasonally adjusted 213,000. Even if the holiday and the hurricane caused the big drop in applications, the low level of new claims still shows a muscular labor market that has shown little wear and tear from a
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