The number of Americans applied for unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 to 233,000 For the week ended April 6, 2018, which is slightly above expectations of 230,000. The data comes after 242,000 requests were reported in the previous week, which was the highest reading since the first week of January.
The economy has created 103,000 jobs in March, which is the weakest labor market performance in the past six months. The economists largely account for the slowdown with more activity in February, as well as the colder weather in March.
In any case, the US labor market is close to full employment. The unemployment is at a 17-year low of 4.1%, which is not far from the Federal Reserve’s forecast to reach the share of people without work to 3.8% by the end of the year.
The report of the last Fed meeting published on Wednesday gave an optimistic assessment of the labor market, noting that “most participants describe labor market conditions as strong”. The report also highlights the growing shortage of labor in certain segments of the market.
The four-week average for the number of unemployment claims, which is considered as a better measure of labor market trends as it reduces volatility from week to week, increased by 1,750 to 230,000 last week.