The US labor market has not looked this good since the 1970s, judging solely by initial jobless claims.
The number of first-time filings for unemployment insurance fell to 249,000 last week, according to the Department of Labor.
That’s just 1,000 more than the lowest level of this economic cycle, in April.
The four-week average of claims, which evens out some of the week-by-week volatility, fell by 2,500, to 253,500, the lowest level since December 8, 1973.
Economists had forecast that claims climbed to 256,000 last week from 254,000 the week before, according to Bloomberg.
Because it’s a weekly data series, it tends to be volatile and subject to revision. But the claims report is one of the timeliest ways to gauge how the labor market is doing, and usually gives an early warning when things are going south.
But right now, claims tell us that the labor market is solid. The weekly print has not risen above 300,000 for 83 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1970.
The claims numbers come ahead of the September jobs report on Friday, which is forecast to show that the US economy added 172,000 nonfarm payrolls, according to Bloomberg.