- The labor market appears to be strong, as the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, according to Reuters. That means employers will find it even harder to fill open positions.
- Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 262,000 for the week ended Aug. 13, the Labor Department said.
- Economists had forecast initial claims slipping to 265,000 in the latest week, Reuters said, but claims have now been below 300,000, a data point connected to a strong labor market, for 76 straight weeks. It's the longest such stretch since 1973, when the labor market was much smaller, so the U.S. is now viewed as either at or near full employment.
John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York, told Reuters that the unemployment claims data point to continued low layoff rates and a solid pace of job growth.
The four-week moving average of claims increased 7,750 between the July and August survey periods, suggesting another month of strong job gains. The economy created 255,000 jobs in July, adding to the 292,000 positions gained in June.
With fewer job seekers on the market, employers know that recruiting qualified candidates becomes more difficult. Strategies include relocation, wage increases, added perks and/or benefits, and baking employee engagement components into recruitment strategies.