The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, suggesting the labor market remained on solid footing despite slowing economic growth and a stock market rout.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 269,000 for the week ended Feb. 6, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's claims were unrevised.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 281,000 in the latest week. The drop last week pushed down claims to near their post-recession lows around 256,000, pointing to very low layoffs despite an uncertain economic outlook and equities turmoil.
A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week's claims data and no states had been estimated.