Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 236,000 for the week ended May 6, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were unrevised.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits rising to 245,000.
Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 114 straight weeks. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller. The labor market is close to full employment, with the unemployment rate at a near 10-year low of 4.4 percent. Thursday's claims report also showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid tumbled 61,000 to 1.92 million in the week ended April 29, the lowest level since November 1988.
The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims fell 27,500 to 1.97 million, the lowest level since February 1974. Labor market strength, also marked by a sharp rebound in job growth in April, has left financial markets anticipating further monetary policy tightening from the Fed in June.
Read more at CNBC.com