Fewer Americans Applying for Unemployment Benefits

By: Daniel Steingold | June 02, 2016

For the third week in a row, the number of individuals applying for unemployment benefits in the U.S. decreased.

This fact is even more impressive once it’s taken into consideration that hiring has slowed as of late, which suggests that companies are holding onto workers.

This past week, applications for unemployment benefits fell by 1,000 applicants to 267,000. The four-week average, a commonly-used and reliable measure, found that the figure fell to 276,750.

Unemployment benefit applications have been below 300,000 now for 65 weeks, which is a remarkable streak that hasn’t been matched since 1973.

The total number of unemployment beneficiaries has also dropped a significant 2.6 percent over the past year. There are currently 2.17 million individuals on unemployment.

The fact that employers are not dropping employees despite slower growth suggests that they expect the economy to improve as the year goes on.

For context, the American economy expanded at only 0.8 percent from January through March, while the newly-projected quarter from April through June is expected to experience 2.5 percent growth.

The final three months of 2015 saw relatively weak growth of 1.4 percent.

Promising signs for the economy in the coming months include increased consumer spending in the retail and restaurant industries, and booming home sales, which have reached their highest rate since 2008.

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