The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell the most in nearly two years, reflecting a healthy labor market conditions.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits decreased by 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 in the week ended April. 1, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were unrevised to add 1,000 more applications.
Economists polled by Reuters had estimated initial claims to fall to 250,000 in the latest week.
According to a Labor Department analyst, there were no special factors impacting last week's claims data. The Jobless claims have been below 300,000 for 109 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, rose by 4,500 to 250,000 last week. The labor market is close to full employment. The continued strength in the labor market supported Fed’s decision to raise interest rate on Match 14 meeting. Investors has anticipated two more rate hikes this year.