Job seekers haven’t had it this good in almost 20 years. Layoffs are near the lowest levels since 1969.
The numbers: The already small number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits each week touched a new bottom in late August that by one measure was the lowest level since 1969.
Initial jobless claims, a tracker of sorts for layoffs in the U.S., rose by 3,000 to 213,000 in the seven days from Aug. 19 to Aug. 25. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 212,000 reading.
More notably, the monthly average of claims fell by 1,500 to 212,250, the government said Thursday. That’s the lowest level since December 1969.
The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits declined by 20,000 to 1.71 million. These are known as “continuing” claims.
What happened: The rate of layoffs in the U.S. have been declining for years and are now near the lowest levels in half a century.
Most companies says it’s so hard to find skilled labor they are reluctant to cut any jobs, even when business is slow. Fortunately few firms are even experiencing that.
Big picture: The U.S. economy is on track for another strong stretch of growth in the third quarter that got underway at the start of July. Economists forecast 3% growth after a robust 4.2% increase in the spring.
If the White House strikes a trade deal with Canada soon, it could add fresh momentum to an already bustling economy.
Read: Americans haven’t been this confident in the economy since 1990s Internet boom
The Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates again in September and make it more expensive to borrow money, but the central bank’s action is unlikely to dampen growth.
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.23% and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.57% were set to open mildly lower in Thursday trades. The stock market has surged this week, however, after President Trump announced a pending new free-trade deal with Mexico.
Read: Trump deal with Mexico eases fears of trade wars
The 10-year Treasury yield TMUBMUSD10Y, -0.56% was little changed at 2.87%. Bond yields had climbed to as high 3% earlier this year before retreating.