The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week, suggesting that labor market is still strong.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits decreased by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 236,000 in the week ended Dec. 2, the Labor Department said on Thursday. It was the third straight weekly decline in the initial claims for unemployment benefits.
Data for the prior week was unrevised.
Economists polled by Reuters had estimated initial claims to be 240,000 in the latest week.
The Jobless claims have been below 300,000 for 144 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1970. At that time, the data base was much smaller than today.
The four-week moving average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure of labor market trends, fell by 750 to 241,500 last week.
"It's signaling an extreme reluctance on the part of employers to lay off workers," said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.
According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls may increase by 200,000 in November. It surged 261,000 in October.
In September, the Federal Reserve kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged in the FOMC meeting.