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Jobless benefits fall

🕐 1 min read

Earlier this month, the number of Americans

seeking unemployment benefits fell to its lowest

level in nearly 50 years — evidence of a strong job

market and an unusually low level of layoffs.

Weekly applications for jobless aid dropped 8,000

to a seasonally adjusted

196,000 in the first week of

April. That was the lowest

level since 1969.

Yet the decline isn’t due

solely to a tight employment

picture. Many states

have imposed stricter rules

on their unemployment

insurance programs —

from making it harder to

qualify to reducing the

duration of benefits to

cutting payouts.

Nine states have cut the number of weeks that

recipients can receive unemployment benefits.

Research by Moody’s Analytics late last year found

that such cuts discourage many people from

applying. Nationally, just 30% of people out of work

now receive unemployment

insurance, down from about

40% before the Great

Recession.

Still, super-low

unemployment claims are a

positive sign for growth. The

figures suggest that some

economic concerns —

global weakness, a

U.S.-China trade war and

slower-growing consumer

spending — haven’t caused

employers to cut jobs

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