The number of Americans filing new applications for jobless benefits fell more than expected to a near 42-year low last week, pointing to ongoing tightening in the labor market despite the recent slowdown in hiring.
The data released on Thursday provides a more upbeat check on the health of the labor market after last week's monthly employment report increased doubts the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates by the end of this year.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 263,000 for the week ended Oct. 3, the Labor Department said.
That was the lowest since mid-July when the number of claims was at its lowest since 1973. Hitting such a historical low is remarkable considering the U.S. workforce has grown considerably since the 1970s.