The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in eight weeks, suggesting the labor market continued to strengthen despite the recent tightening in financial market conditions.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 264,000 for the week ended Sept. 12, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That was the lowest reading since the week ended July 18.
It was the 28th straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is usually associated with a strengthening labor market.
Claims for the prior week were unrevised. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims holding at 275,000 last week.
The data covered the Labor Day holiday and claims tend to be volatile around holidays. A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing the data.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 3,250 to 272,500 last week.
The labor market has remained on solid footing, despite a recent global stock market sell-off, which has lowered the probability of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike this week.
The claims data covered the period during which the government surveyed employers for the nonfarm payrolls portion of the September employment report. Claims fell 13,000 between the August and September survey weeks, suggesting some pick-up in job growth.
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