The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped to a 44-year low last week, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Specifically, unemployment claims dropped by 19,000 from 242,000 during the week prior to a low of 223,000 during the week that ended on Feb. 25, according to CNS News. This marked the lowest level the claims number has been since March of 1973, when former President Richard Nixon was in office.
In accounting for this unexpected drop, CNS News pointed to a reduction in layoffs, arguing that both confidence in the economy and difficulty attracting new employees was spurring employers to hold onto staff members.
“Businesses are finding it ever-harder to recruit, so the bar for letting people go has risen,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a research note cited by CNS.
Speaking with Reuters, Rob Martin, an economist at Barclays in New York, concurred with this assessment, saying, “Workers are not being laid off in large numbers.”
Whether President Donald Trump deserved full credit for this remarkable drop in unemployment claims was a bit less clear.
On one hand, it was certain that the pro-business policies supported by the president were driving up business owners’ confidence for the future and spurring them into making more investments.
According to Bloomberg, however, the latest jobless claims number “marked 104 straight weeks of claims below 300,000,” meaning the drop began in March of 2015, when former President Barack Obama was still in office and before Trump had even declared his candidacy.
The argument could therefore be made that Obama deserved credit for at least starting the trend downward. With that said, the case could also be made that it was both Trump’s entrance into the 2016 presidential election and his final victory late last year that ultimately propelled jobless claims over the threshold and into a 44-year record.
Either way, the new unemployment numbers make the future look good.
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