First-Time Unemployment Claims Drop to 50-Year Low

The number of first-time claims for unemployment assistance was expected to drop.

But maybe not this much.

According to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor, first-time unemployment claims fell to 187,000 last week, bringing them to a level not seen in more than 50 years.

The 187,000 claims for the week ending March 19 were down some 28,000 from the previous week. Economists had reportedly been expecting them to land around 212,000.

Instead, they fell to their lowest level since 182,000 such claims were filed in September 1969.

“The decline in claims was broad-based among states and wasn’t overly influenced by seasonal adjustment factors,” Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics, according to The Denver Post. “We expect initial claims to remain low as employers struggling to hire and retain workers keep layoffs to a minimum.”

Labor Department statistics showed the four-week moving average also dipped to 211,750, a decrease of 11,500 from the previous week.

Continuing claims, which show the number of people getting ongoing unemployment benefits, fell by 67,000 to 1.350 million in the week ended March 12th, hitting the lowest level since January 1970.

“We expect continued claims to remain near these very low levels as job growth continues and more workers return to the labor market,” said Vanden Houten, according to Business Insider.

The monthly jobs report for March is expected April 1. According to Business Insider, economists currently expect employment to jump by 450,000 jobs in March after adding 678,000 jobs in February.