The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased less than expected last week, signaling that the labor market is still healthy.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 260,000 in the week ended Sept.10, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected 265,000 new claim in the latest week. Claims for the prior week, ended Sept. 3, were left unrevised at 259,000.
“Claims remain low, consistent with a still-strong trend in employment growth,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, in a note to clients.
Application for unemployment benefits have remained below 300,000 for 80 consecutive weeks, the longest stretch since 1970, when the labor was much smaller than it is today.
The four-week moving average of jobless claims, the less-volatile measure of labor market trends, fell by 500 to 260,750, the lowest level since the end of July.
The Labor Department said that there were no special factors affecting the latest claims data.
The less-than-expected jobless claims may affect Fed’s decision next week. Fed officials are scheduled to meet next week to discuss whether to raise interest rate. However, Industrial production contracted more than forecast and retail sales unexpectedly slid, sending the odds for a rate increase next week below 20 percent.