Bloomberg News/Landov Thanks to a strong jobs market, the number of Americans getting laid off each week is near a 50-year low.
The numbers: The number of people who applied for jobless benefits in early May fell slightly to 228,000, showing little change in one of the strongest labor markets in decades.
Initial jobless claims fell by 2,000 from a seasonally adjusted 230,000 in the prior week, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch estimated new claims would total 218,000 in the seven days ended May 4.
The more stable monthly average of new claims rose by 7,750 to 220,250. The four-week average gives a more accurate read into labor-market conditions than the more volatile weekly number.
The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits, known as continuing claims, increased by 12,000 to 1.68 million.
Read: U.S. creates 263,000 jobs in April as unemployment falls to 49-year low
What happened: New claims spiked in late April after touching a 50-year low 193,000 earlier in the month, largely because a late Easter holiday distorted the government’s attempts to adjust for seasonal variations.
Claims without seasonal adjustment — the actual number of people who filed — indicate that layoffs may have increased in the past month. Raw claims have been higher in the past two weeks compared to a year earlier.
Big picture: A vibrant labor market is keeping the U.S. economy on track to break the record for longest expansion ever in a few months. The rate of unemployment fell last month to a nearly 50-year low of 3.6% and job openings are back near a record high. Even after a recent increase in new jobless claims, the pace of layoffs is still near the lowest level since the late 1960s.
Read: Stars are aligned for economy as it closes in on record for longest expansion
What they are saying?: “If claims don’t slide over the next few weeks it would be consistent with the idea that the labor market is coming off the boil,” said chief economist Ian Shepherdon of Pantheon Macroeconomics. Yet “with GDP growth likely to average more than 2% this year, a serious sustained rise in claims is not in the cards.”
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -1.51% and S&P 500 SPX, -1.36% fell sharply again in Thursday trades amid doubts over whether the U.S. and China can resolve a tense standoff over trade rules for imports and exports.
Read: Trade fight with China hasn’t affected most Americans so far. Here’s what could change that
Also Read: Market calm shattered: Trump tariff threat ‘raises odds of further tariff escalation’
The 10-year Treasury yield TMUBMUSD10Y, -2.22% fell slightly to 2.46%. Many loans such as mortgages and auto loans are tied to changes in the 10-year note, whose yield has fallen from a seven-year high of 3.23% in October.