The number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits ticked up last week yet remained at a low level, signaling health in the U.S. job market.
Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S. economy, increased by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 260,000 in the week ended Sept. 10, the Labor Department said Thursday.
“Claims remain low, consistent with a still-strong trend in employment growth,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, in a note to clients.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 265,000 new claims last week. Claims for the prior week, ended Sept. 3, were left unrevised at 259,000.
The Labor Department said no special factors affected the latest claims data.
Readings on initial unemployment applications can be volatile from week to week. The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out some of the week-to-week jumpiness, fell by 500 to 260,750 last week.
Jobless claims have remained below 300,000 for 80 consecutive weeks, the longest streak since 1970—when the U.S. population was far smaller than it is today.