Americans Applying For Unemployment Benefits Hits 45-Year Low

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell precipitously in the last week, dropping to the lowest level in 45 years.

The number of unemployment benefits claims fell by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 221,000 for the week ending Feb. 3, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday. Jobless claims dropped to 216,000 in mid-January — the lowest level since January 1973.

The four-week jobless claims average was 224,500, down 10,000 from previous week’s unrevised average. The moving average is at its lowest level since March 1973.

Unemployment benefits are available to workers for up to 26 weeks in the majority of states, paying eligible workers as much as $450 per week.

U.S. jobless rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, showing further signs that the domestic labor market is continuing to tighten.

The U.S. economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2017, posting the best back-to-back quarterly growth rates in three years. Fourth quarter growth rates fell slightly to 2.8 percent.

The Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank is predicting 5.4 percent GDP growth for the first-quarter of 2018, up 1 percent from its original Jan. 29 first-quarter prediction. This 5.4 percent growth would be the highest growth rate since the third quarter of 2003.

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