The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week, unwinding half of the prior period’s jump and suggesting the labor market was tightening despite a recent slowdown in job growth.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 245,000 for the week ended June 3, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Claims increased by 20,000 in the prior week, with California, Tennessee, Kansas, and Missouri accounting for the bulk of the increase. Some of that increase was related to school summer breaks.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits falling to 240,000 in the latest week.
Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 118 straight weeks. That is the longest such stretch since
A Labor Department official there were no special factors influencing the data. Only claims for Louisiana were estimated.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 2,250 to 242,000 last week.