Jobless claims drop to their lowest level in 14 years by John Kell @FortuneMagazine October 16, 2014, 9:13 AM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Initial jobless claims have hit the lowest level since April 2000, the latest sign of the labor market’s strength at a time when U.S. stocks have suffered declines amid fears of slowing global growth and fears tied to the Ebola epidemic. The Labor Department reported that initial claims totaled 264,000 for the week ended October 11, a decline of 23,000 from the prior week’s total and the lowest level for initial claims since April 15, 2000. The four-week moving average was the lowest level since June 2000. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had projected initial claims of 290,000 for the latest week, and the figure that the Labor Department reported was even below the rosiest projection. The U.S. economy has performed well this year, encouraging employers to add jobs and issue fewer pink slips. Though the jobs market for the most part is performing well, especially due to the broad-based nature of those new jobs, weak wage growth has been problematic and new jobs that are being created are often skewing toward part-time work and lower paying jobs.