Jobless Claims in the U.S. Reaches a 49-Year Low

Data released by the Labor Department on Thursday revealed that jobless claims in the U.S. hit a 49-year low, suggesting that the labor market is still strong despite fears of a global economic slowdown.

In addition, the data showed U.S.-based companies had less layoffs during the month of March, but job cuts during the first quarter were at their highest since 2015–a possible sign of a fading $1.5 trillion tax cut package. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 10,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 202,000 for the week ended March 30–the lowest level since early December 1969.

Economists polled by Reuters were expecting claims to rise to 216,000. Analysts view these latest numbers as continued signs of a labor market that is still operating at full steam.

“There are no labor market indicators that suggest layoff activity is going to accelerate any time soon,” said Thomas Simons, senior money market economist at Jefferies LLC. “Even if it does, there is such strong evidence of demand for labor that we would expect workers who are laid off will have an easy time finding another job on average.”

Nonetheless, these latest numbers come after employment data released by ADP and Moody’s Analytics showed that job growth hit an 18-month low in the month of March. Private payrolls went up by 129,000 for the month, which fell below the 173,000 that economists surveyed by Dow Jones were expecting to see.

Nonetheless, a February employment data revision did show an increase of 197,000 as opposed to the initial number of 183,000. It was the lowest figure since March 2017 when private payrolls increased by 111,000.

“The job market is weakening, with employment gains slowing significantly across most industries and company sizes,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said in a statement. “Businesses are hiring cautiously as the economy is struggling with fading fiscal stimulus, the trade uncertainty, and the lagged impact of Fed tightening. If employment growth weakens much further, unemployment will begin to rise.”

Related: S&P 500 Rises to End the Quarter

ETFs to Play

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