The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, but the underlying trend firmly pointed to strengthening labor market conditions.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 283,000 for the week ended Oct. 18, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
That followed three straight weeks of declines, which had pushed claims to levels last seen in 2000. Last week’s increase was in line with economists’ expectations.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell to 281,000, the lowest level since May 2000, from a revised 284,000 in the previous week.