The number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits dropped to a 17-year low in April, a fact that indicates the U.S. currently has one of the best labor markets in recent memory.
Continuing jobless claims dropped to 1.98 million in March and have continued to fall. The figure has been this low only once since the 2008 economic crisis.
According to a statement from the Department of Labor, “This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since April 15, 2000 when it was 1,962,000.”
The Department of Labor distinguishes people who apply for their first, or initial claims and those who continue to file for benefits, or continuing jobless claims.
“A person who has already filed an initial claim and who has experienced a week of unemployment then files a continued claim,” the DOL states.
The DOL contends this is good news: “While continued claims are not a leading indicator (they roughly coincide with economic cycles at their peaks and lag at cycle troughs), they provide confirming evidence of the direction of the U.S. economy.
These figures indicate that 2017 will be an even better year for growth than expected. The Fed is likely to continue raising interest rates.
According to the DOL, unemployment rates have been on a steady decline since late in 2009.
During his campaign, President Trump repeatedly attacked DOL reports.
“Don’t believe this phony numbers,” Trump said roughly a year ago when the DOL put unemployment at 4.7 percent for people who were actively looking for jobs. “The number is probably 28, 29, as high as 35. In fact, I even heard recently 42 percent.”
Following the first positive job reports of his presidency, Trump has changed his take.
“I talked to the President prior to this,” said White House Spokesman Sean Spicer said in March, “and he said to quote him very clearly: ‘They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now.”
This is welcome news for the president, who set a goal of adding 25 million jobs over the next 10 years.