The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, yet it remained near a 14-year low in a reminder that one small part of the labor market has returned to full health.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 12,000 to 290,000 for the week ended Nov. 8, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims increasing to 280,000 last week. Claims have now been below the 300,000 threshold for nine straight weeks, and in October hit their lowest level since 2000 at 266,000.
Together with a separate survey of employers that tracks job openings, the claims data suggests firms are well past a cycle of elevated lay-offs that began in the 2007-09 recession.
Still, even as claims have fallen, the pace of hiring has been remarkably steady in recent years and has averaged about 200,000 a month, although job creation appears to have accelerated slightly this year.