The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week likely as Hurricane Florence temporarily displaced some workers, but the underlying trend continued to point to a tightening labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 214,000 for the week ended Sept. 22, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Claims fell to 202,000 during the week ended Sept. 15, which was the lowest level since November 1969.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 210,000 in the latest week. Hurricane Florence lashed parts of the South last week, causing flooding and sending people into emergency shelters.
The Labor Department reported an increase in unadjusted claims for South and North Carolina last week. The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose only 250 to 206,250 last week.