- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2018

The number of people filing new applications for unemployment benefits fell in late August to the lowest level in nearly 50 years, the government reported Thursday.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims dropped by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 203,00 for the week ending Sept. 1. That’s the lowest level since 1969.

The four-week moving average of claims, 209,500, also declined to a 49-year low. The unemployment rate in July was 3.9 percent; the figure for August comes out Friday.

President Trump reiterated his economic achievements Wednesday while defending himself from criticism by an anonymous senior administration official in a widely circulated opinion column in The New York Times.

“The unemployment picture in the country is the best it’s been in 49 years,” the president said. “Nobody has ever done, in less than a two-year period, what we’ve done. Nobody is going to come close to beating me in 2020 because of what we’ve done.”

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday the new government data proves “this is the best job market we have had in decades.”

“Tax reform is working,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “Families are better off. Businesses are hiring, businesses are expanding. Manufacturing is booming. We’re finally seeing the kind of broad-based economic growth in our economy that we were gunning for.”

Mr. Ryan said he’s also encouraged that workers in jobs that are traditionally considered low-wage, such as bank tellers and maintenance workers, “are seeing some of the biggest pay increases right now.”

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