The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week, but continued to point to strengthening labor market conditions.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 291,000 for the week ended Nov. 15, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The prior week’s data was revised to show 3,000 more applications received than previously reported.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, increased 1,750 to 287,500, still at levels consistent with solid employment growth.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims dipping to 285,000 last week. Claims have now been below the 300,000 threshold for 10 straight weeks, a sign that the labor market is tightening.
A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week’s claims data, which covered the period during which the government surveyed employers for November’s nonfarm payrolls.