The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, while a reading on U.S. productivity came in better than expected..
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 278,000 for the week ended Nov. 1, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 2,250 to 279,000, the lowest reading since April 2000.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims dipping to 285,000 last week. Claims have now been below the 300,000 threshold for eight straight weeks, suggesting that employment growth was gaining momentum.
A report on Wednesday showed private payrolls increased 230,000 in October, for a record seven straight months of job gains exceeding 200,000.
The government is expected to report on Friday that nonfarm payrolls advanced 231,000 last month after rising 248,000 in September, according to a Reuters survey of economists. The jobless rate is seen steady at a six-year low of 5.9 percent.
A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week's claims data.