Applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped last week to their lowest level in 14 years as employers avoided trimming staff even as global growth weakens.
Jobless claims decreased by 23,000 to 264,000 in the week ended Oct. 11, the fewest since April 2000 and lower than any projection in the Bloomberg survey of economists, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. There was nothing unusual in the data and no states were estimated, a spokesman said as the figures were released.
Companies are beefing up staff as payrolls this year remain on track for their biggest gain since 1999. The risk remains that economic slowdowns in Europe and China, a plunge in commodity prices and geopolitical and health risks including the Ebola outbreak hurt confidence and curb further progress.
“This is a little bit heartening to remind everybody that the U.S. economy so far seems it’s doing pretty well,” said Guy Berger, U.S. economist at RBS Securities Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut, whose projection for claims matched the lowest in the survey. “It sets up a pretty good October employment report.”