Jobless Claims in States Rebounds from 45-Year Lows

The number of folks filing for unemployment benefits south of the border rebounded from a near 45-year low last week, but remained below a level that is associated with a tightening labour market.

Figures released Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 230,000 for the week ended Feb. 10. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 2,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Claims fell to 216,000 in mid-January, which was the lowest level since January 1973. Economists had forecast claims rising to 230,000 in the latest week.

Last week marked the 154th straight week that claimsin the U.S. remained below the 300,000 threshold, associated with a strong labour market. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labour market was much smaller.

Experts say the labour market is near full employment, with the jobless rate at a 17-year low of 4.1%.The tighter labour market is starting to exert upward pressure on wage growth, which will over time add to inflation pressures.