The Department of Labor announced Thursday that initial jobless claims were up by about 3,000 from the previous week, but still low enough to represent a growing economy.
The number of new applications for unemployment insurance stood at 267,000 for the week ending September 19. Adjusted for seasonal factors, the Labor Department said the insured unemployment rate – the number of people receiving unemployment insurance benefits – was unchanged at 1.7%.
The news was a good sign – the prior week saw the lowest level of new claims since mid-July, when it dropped to its lowest point in four decades according to the Wall Street Journal. While it was a slight increase, it was less than predicted by a Bloomberg survey of economists conducted.
Combined with five years of positive employment gains and a nearly-4% annual growth rate in the second quarter, the latest report on initial jobless claims signals continued economic growth for the United States.
“Claims have settled at a pretty low level. The labor market is definitely improving,” Raymond James’ chief economist Scott Brown told Bloomberg.
Last week, the Federal Reserve declined to raise interest rates out of a concern for global economic trends, particularly in China, but did point to a strengthening American economy at home.
“The pace of job gains has been solid, the unemployment rate has declined, and overall labor market conditions have continued to improve,” Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said last week.
Unlike the Fed’s caution on rate hikes, employers seem to be brushing off China fears and continuing to hire at a steady clip. The latest report marks the sixth consecutive month of fewer than 300,000 jobless claims, also a forty-year low.