The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week to near a 43-year low, suggesting labor market resilience even though hiring slowed sharply in May.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 259,000 for the week ended June 18, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The drop left claims not too far from a 43-year low touched in March.
Claims for the prior week were unrevised. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast initial claims falling only to 270,000 in the latest week. Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a strong job market, for 68 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1973.
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 267,000 last week.