The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, pointing to some underlying strength in the labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 320,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the week ended March 8 were unrevised. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits rising to 325,000 in the week ended March 15.
The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 3,500 to 327,000, the lowest level since November.