THE number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, pointing to a tightening labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000 for the week ended May 28, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were unrevised.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast initial claims rising to 270,000 in the latest week. Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a strong job market, for 65 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1973.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 1,750 to 276,750 last week.
A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week’s claims data. However, claims for Tennessee, Virginia, Wyoming, Puerto Rico and Hawaii were estimated because of the Memorial Day holiday.