WASHINGTON—The number of new claims for jobless benefits rose last week but remained near 14-year lows, the latest sign of an improving labor market.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits increased by 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 283,000 in the week ended Oct. 18, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was slightly above the 282,000 claims forecast by economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal.
Claims for the previous week were revised up by 2,000 to 266,000. That was the lowest level since April 2000. The Labor Department said there were no special factors affecting the data.
“Claims continue to suggest improving labor-market dynamics,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, U.S. strategist at TD Securities.
The four-week moving average for initial claims, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, fell 3,000 to 281,000, its lowest level since May 2000.
The report also showed the number of people filing continuing claims for unemployment benefits fell 38,000 to 2.35 million for the week ended Oct. 11. Those figures are reported with a one-week lag.
Adjusted for population growth, initial claims are hovering around their lowest level on record. The low level reflects strong demand for workers as the economic recovery gains traction.