New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits recorded their biggest drop in nearly two years last week, pointing to a further tightening in the labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 for the week ended April 1, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The drop was the largest since the week ending April 25, 2015, and unwound recent increases that had lifted claims to a three-month high.
“The lower jobless claims filings show the economy continues to show improvement which is important news with the long expansion expected to eventually tire somewhere down the line given its longevity,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York.
Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 109 straight weeks. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller. The labor market is currently near full employment.
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