US jobless claims increased less than expected last week, suggesting the labor market continued to tighten after recent hurricane-related disruptions. The growth is weak, beating the economists expectations, but also should be considered that it follows the record low level reported last week. The Labor Ministry reported that unemployment claims rose by 10,000, taking seasonal adjusted number of 233,000. The less volatile four-week benchmark has fallen to 239,500.
The unemployment claims fell to 223,000 in the prior week, which was the lowest level since March 1973.
The total number of people receiving unemployment benefits declined by 3,000 to 1.89 million, which is the lowest level since December 1973.
But Irma and Hurricane Maria continue to impact claims for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, now virtually isolated because of the destruction of infrastructure due to the storms. Many people still cannot register for unemployment benefits, which suggests that the indicator may rise slightly in the coming weeks as well.
A Labor Department official said they continued to estimate claims data for the islands.
The data show that employers are optimistic about business prospects and retain their staff. Earlier this month, was report a 16-year minimum unemployment rate of 4.2%.