US jobless claims dropped more than expected last week to 259,000

The number of people in the US who filed for unemployment benefits dropped to a 43-year low for the week ended June 18, indicating resilience in the American labor market despite a slower pace of hiring in May.

The US Labor Department said on Thursday that claims for state unemployment benefits last week dropped by 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 259,000. The number of claims dropped by much more than what economists polled by Reuters had expected.

Source: US Department of Labor

Claims have been under 300,000, a threshold associated with a robust job market, for 68 consecutive weeks now – the longest run since 1973.

Another measure of how the labor market is performing is the four-week moving average of claims, which some consider it to be a better indicator as it irons out weekly volatility.

The four week moving average was 267,000 for the week ended June 18, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 269,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.6 percent for the week ending June 11, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 11 was 2,142,000, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week’s revised level.

The previous week’s level was revised up 5,000 from 2,157,000 to 2,162,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,147,000, a decrease of 4,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,250 from 2,150,250 to 2,151,500.