The latest weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 8,000 to 196,000 for the week ending April 6. That is the lowest level since 1969. The four-week average, calculated to help reduce volatility, fell 7,000 to 207,000. Measured as a percentage of total employment, claims have fallen to an all-time record low of 0.133 percent, well below the lowest point of all previous economic cycles.
After a brief period of modestly rising claims for unemployment insurance from mid-September through early February, claims have now fallen in 7 of the last 10 weeks. While economic data continue to be generally mixed, this is among the most compelling evidence that the recent period of weakness may be passing. While caution is still warranted, the outlook for continued economic expansion is marginally more favorable.