The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, a sign the labor market may be tightening.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 287,000 in the week ended Sept. 27, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 297,000 last week.
Claims have fallen steadily since the nation emerged from the 2007-09 recession and are currently lower than they were before the country’s economic crisis began.
The trend suggest “labor market slack is on the decline,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, an strategist at TD Securities.
Thursday’s data has no bearing on Friday’s government report on monthly employment during September because the hiring survey was conducted earlier in the month. Economists expect companies stepped up the pace of hiring last month, adding 215,000 workers to payrolls.
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