Per The Wall Street Journal, the number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits has been below 300,000 for 162 weeks in a row, the longest stretch since 1970:
The number of Americans claiming new unemployment benefits has never been so low for so long.
Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., decreased by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 233,000 in the week ended April 7, the Labor Department said Thursday. This means claims have now held below 300,000 for 162 consecutive weeks, cementing the longest streak for weekly records dating back to 1967.
The current streak eclipsed the previous longest stretch that ended in April 1970.
The consistently low claims levels point to labor market health because they mean relatively few Americans are losing their jobs and applying for benefits to tide them over until they can find new employment.
Manufacturers across the United States have been doing their part to contribute to the surging U.S. economy and improving job market. Manufacturers added 22,000 new jobs in March, the sixth straight month of robust hiring growth for the sector. In January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 427,000 job openings in the manufacturing industry, only the fifth time in the past 18 years that the number has exceeded 400,000. Manufacturing employment has reached the highest level since December 2008.
Tax reform and other pro-growth policies are helping. According to National Association of Manufacturers Chief Economist Chad Moutray, “Fixed investment in the manufacturing sector should rise by $55 billion this year, with employment increasing by another 104,000.” So far in 2018, manufacturers have announced major investments for new facilities and new jobs. Moutray also estimated that the nation’s unemployment rate would lower to 3.8 percent by the end of the year.
The U.S. unemployment rate is at 4.1 percent, the lowest level since 2000.
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