U.S. Jobless Claims Sink to 49-Yr. Low

The number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits tumbled last week to lows it hadn't seen since the days of Woodstock, tidings which could ease concerns about a slowdown in the labour market and economy.

The U.S. Labor Department released figures Thursday morning showing initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 206,000 for the week ended Dec. 8. Last week’s decline in claims was the largest since April 2015. Claims hit 202,000 in mid-September, which was the lowest level since December 1969.

Data for the prior week was revised to show 2,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Economists had forecast claims falling to 225,000 in the latest week. Claims shot up to an eight-month high of 235,000 during the week ended Nov. 24.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labour market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 3,750 to 224,750 last week.