The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, suggesting the labor market continued to strengthen despite tepid economic growth.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000 for the week ended April 2, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 270,000 in the latest week. Jobless claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with healthy labor market conditions, for 57 weeks, the longest stretch since 1973.
The labor market buoyancy is at odds with slowing economic growth. Recent data on consumer spending, business investment and international trade suggest growth slowed to below a 1 percent annualized rate in the first quarter after expanding at an anemic 1.4 percent pace in the fourth quarter.