The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose last week, but remained at levels consistent with a strengthening labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 269,000 for the week ended Nov. 28, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's claims were unrevised.
It was the 39th straight week that claims held below 300,000, which is normally associated with a healthy labor market. Claims are near levels last seen in 1973 and there is little room for further declines as the labor market normalizes.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 268,000 last week. The claims data covered the Thanksgiving Day holiday, which can cause volatility in the numbers.
A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing the data and only claims for Louisiana had been estimated.