WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, close to historical lows in a sign that the job market is healthy.
The Labor Department says applications for jobless aid fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 229,000 last week. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped to a 44-year low of 232,500.The four-week average was previously that low in April 1973, when the U.S. economy had a smaller population and fewer total workers.
Puerto Rico is processing backlogged claims for unemployment benefits after facing disruptions due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the government said.
The report suggests that employers are holding onto their workers and possibly seeking to add jobs.
Economists forecast that the Labor Department's report for October, to be released Friday, will show a robust gain of 308,000 jobs.