The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose last week, but remained below levels consistent with a tightening labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 272,000 for the week ended Feb. 20, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's claims were unrevised.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 270,000 in the latest week. It was the 51st week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a strong labor market - the longest spell since the early 1970s.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 1,250 to 272,000 last week.