Jobless claims are running at the lowest level in nearly a half century

New applications for unemployment benefits rose by 11,000 to 222,000 in mid-May, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.
Forecasters had expected a slight uptick in new jobless claims, after the numbers scraped the lowest levels in nearly half a century in recent weeks.
Even with the weekly increase, however, average weekly claims for the past month are the lowest in over 48 years.
Low claims are a good sign for the economy. They suggest layoffs are rare.
And Thursday's report suggests that prospects are getting better and better for workers, even though the jobs recovery is aging toward a ninth year.
The total number of people receiving benefits also hit a generational low in May. Benefits are available to laid-off workers for up to 26 weeks in most states. Altogether, there were 1.7 million people receiving benefits in early May, the lowest such number since December of 1973.
In comparison, there were over 6.5 million people receiving benefits in 2009, during the worst of the recession.
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