KQV AM 1410

Nov 22, 8:47 AM EST

Applications for US unemployment benefits drop 13,000


AP Photo
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Multimedia
A district summary of the Beige Book
Measuring economic stress by county nationwide
Mall malaise: shoppers browse, but don't buy
Unemployment by the numbers
Family struggles with father's unemployment
Saying an affordable goodbye
Hard times hit small car dealer
Latest Economic News
Jobs growth in eurozone at 'highest since dotcom era'

Eurozone economy heading for strongest quarter since 2011

Philippine economy grows 6.9 percent in last quarter

US retail sales rose for 2nd month led by cars, clothes

UK employment falls for first time in nearly a year

Japan exports drive expansion, offset weak consumer spending

Japan's economy logs 1.4 percent annual growth in July-Sept

UK inflation unexpectedly holds steady at 3 percent

S&P says Venezuela has defaulted on its debt

German economy sees 0.8 percent growth in 3rd quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell for the first time in three weeks, pushing total applications down to a low 239,000, further evidence of the strength of the labor market.

The NUMBERS: Applications dropped by 13,000 last week after rising by 13,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. The four-week average, which smooths out volatility, rose by 1,250 to 239,750.

The number of people receiving benefits rose by 36,000 to 1.9 million, still near a 44-year low.

KEY DRIVERS: Applications for unemployment benefits are a proxy for layoffs. The level of unemployment benefits has been below 300,000 for more than two years, a stretch not equaled in more than four decades.

The government reports that claims processing continues to be disrupted in the Virgin Islands but the ability to take claims has improved in Puerto Rico. Both islands were devastated by hurricanes earlier this year.

THE TAKEAWAY: The weekly unemployment benefits report suggests that the economic recovery that began in mid-2009 is steaming ahead. Employers added 261,000 jobs in October as the unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent.

The economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at a 3 percent rate in the July-September quarter after a 3.1 percent pace in the second quarter. It marked the first back-to-back quarterly gains of 3 percent or better in three years.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.