1:53pm ET Aug 24, 2018:Jobless claims have dropped to their lowest level in more than a month as the economy continues to heal from a devastating hurricane and government efforts to shore up the economy.
The Labor Department said Friday that the Labor Force Participation Rate — a measure of the percentage of workers who are either actively looking for work or have looked for work in the past two weeks — ticked down to 62.3% in August from 62.5% in July.
Labor Department data from September through October is not immediately available.
The economy is still improving, but the Labor Department cautioned that the recovery has slowed significantly from its peak in August.
The economy added 178,000 jobs last month, down from 176,000 in July and September.
It is expected to add 180,000 new jobs in August, Labor Department economists say.
The jobs report came as President Donald Trump sought to reassure Americans that the government is on track to provide jobs for all Americans.
Trump announced in a tweet late Thursday that he had secured the support of Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, of New York, for a package of relief measures, including $1.5 trillion in tax cuts and a $1 trillion infrastructure package.
Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have also said they are committed to providing relief for millions of Americans who have lost their jobs.
Trump also said the economy was finally getting a boost from the election of Democrat Joe Biden, and he urged Americans to take advantage of the job market and get back to work.
“The economy continues improving, and we will have more than 3 million new jobs by the end of the year,” Trump said.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and now is the time to get back on track.”
Trump also promised a “big boost” to the federal deficit as he and McConnell meet Friday in Washington.
Ahead of the Labor Dept.’s report, Trump has repeatedly tweeted about the unemployment rate, which he calls a “disaster.”
Trump has blamed Congress for failing to pass relief measures that would have helped millions of workers find work.
Trump’s administration has said it will continue to help those who have jobs and those who are underemployed as the storm and recovery take hold.
The Labor Dept. said Friday it had received 4.2 million jobless applications, down slightly from 5.3 million applications in July but still higher than the 4.1 million applications received in August in August 2018.