The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength even as the economy slows.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 211,000 for the week ended May 18, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for the prior week was unrevised.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would rise to 215,000 in the latest week. The Labor Department said no states were estimated last week.
Claims are settling down after some volatility in late April caused by difficulties adjusting the data for seasonal fluctuations around moving holidays like Easter, Passover and school spring breaks.
The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, dropped 4,750 to 220,250 last week.
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