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Weekend Roundup: Falling Jobless Claims, Workplace Immigration, and More

Though some experts say the number overstates the health of the U.S. economy, weekly jobless claims in the country fell to their lowest level in decades this month. Meanwhile, businesses that depend on foreign workers will likely continue to face challenges imposed by the federal government throughout 2019. Finally, can you guess which U.S. city’s workers have the highest positive drug-testing rate for marijuana? The answer may surprise you in today’s Weekend Roundup:

U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Fall to the Lowest Level Since 1969

The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell to more than a 49-year low last week, but the drop likely overstates the health of the labor market as claims for several states including California were estimated.

Still, labor market conditions remain strong, which for now should help to temper fears of a sharp slowdown in economic growth. The economy is facing several headwinds, including a month-long partial shutdown of the federal government.

2019 Workplace Immigration Outlook Indicates More of the Same

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to implement policies emanating from President Donald Trump’s Buy American and Hire American executive order, said Beth Carlson, an immigration attorney and counsel in the Minneapolis office of Faegre Baker Daniels.

“Although the mainstream media focuses on the border wall and other immigration issues of interest to the general public, U.S. employers and their foreign national employees will continue to be impacted by this ‘silent wall’ of heightened scrutiny, denials and backlogs in processing, and adjudication of work visas and permanent residence applications,” Carlson said.

Dallas Leads U.S. Cities in Marijuana Positivity Rate

Dallas, Texas led all U.S. metropolitan areas with a marijuana positivity rate of more than five percent even though marijuana is not legalized for medical or recreational use in the city.

Marijuana positivity for the American workforce is up for the fifth consecutive year, a trend showing no signs of slowing. Drug positivity in states without marijuana use statutes has kept pace with the national average of 2.1% for the combined U.S. workforce. However, data from Quest Diagnostics shows that the states with the highest positivity rates do not necessarily contain the cities or metropolitan areas with the highest marijuana positivity.

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