Layoffs continue to be at the lowest levels since the early 1970s.
The numbers: Initial jobless claims, a tracker of sorts for layoffs in the U.S., fell by 6,000 to 213,000 in the week ended Aug. 4. That was below the 217,000 estimate of economists polled by MarketWatch and the first decline in three weeks. Until recently claims haven’t been this low since the early 1970s.
What happened: The more stable monthly average of claims, meanwhile, fell by a smaller 500 to 214,250, the government said Thursday. That’s the second lowest reading during a nine-year-old expansion that begin in mid-2009.
The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits rose by 29,000 to 1.76 million. Known as “continuing” claims, they are almost a quarter of a million lower compared to the same time last year.
Big picture: Claims continue to trend lower, signaling the labor market is strong enough to keep the unemployment rate trending down. The unemployment rate fell to 3.9% in July, nearly a two-decade low.
Market reaction: Little reaction. Stocks DJIA, -0.18% were set to open higher in Thursday trades.The yield on the 2-year Treasury TMUBMUSD02Y, -0.15% , which is very sensitive to Federal Reserve rate expectations, edged lower to 2.66%.