Jobless claims drop fourth week in a row to 218,000

The numbers: The number of Americans losing their jobs fell for the fourth week in a row in mid-June, keeping the rate of layoffs near levels last seen in the early 1970s.
Initial jobless claims declined by 3,000 to 218,000 in the seven days ended June 16, in line with the MarketWatch forecast.
What happened: New applications for unemployment benefits were essentially flat. Although the government reported a small decline, it had revised new claims from the prior week up to 221,000 from an original 218,000 reading.
The more stable monthly average of new claims dropped by 4,000 last week to 221,000, settling just slightly above a 45-year low.
Continuing claims, meanwhile, rose by 22,000 to 1.72 million. These claims represent how many people are already collecting unemployment benefits. They are also near a 45-year bottom.
Big picture: The good news is that most people who want a job can find one. Unemployment is at an 18-year low and job openings are at a record high.
Companies are looking for more skilled workers, however, and they are picky in who they hire. That’s why the rate of hiring hasn’t kept up with the increase in job openings.
And while workers are earning somewhat bigger pay raises, they still aren’t winning the kind of wage gains they typically do when the economy and the labor market are so strong.
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