The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits continued to fell last week, showing that the labor market remained strength. Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 265,000 in the week ended Dec. 24, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were unrevised.
Economists polled by Bloomberg had estimated initial claims to ranged from 250,000 to 275,000. “On the whole, we continue to expect further improvement in labor market conditions,” Barclays economist Michael Gapen said in a note to clients.
The Jobless claims have been below 300,000 for 95 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 263,000 last week.
The continued strength in the labor market supported Fed’s decision to raise interest rate by 25 basis points earlier this month. The Fed plans three rate hikes next year.