Initial claims for state unemployment benefits
dropped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 278,000 for the week
ended Nov. 1, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better
measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week
volatility, fell 2,250 to 279,000, the lowest reading since
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims dipping to
285,000 last week. Claims have now been below the 300,000
threshold for eight straight weeks, suggesting that employment
growth was gaining momentum.
A report on Wednesday showed private payrolls increased 230,000
in October, for a record seven straight months of job gains
The government is expected to report on Friday that nonfarm
payrolls advanced 231,000 last month after rising 248,000 in
September, according to a Reuters survey of economists. The
jobless rate is seen steady at a six-year low of 5.9 percent.
A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors
influencing last week's claims data.
The Federal Reserve last month gave an upbeat view of the labor
market, dropping its characterization of labor market slack as
"significant" and replacing it with "gradually diminishing."
The claims report showed the number of people still receiving
benefits after an initial week of aid declined 39,000 to 2.35
million in the week ended Oct. 25, the lowest level since
December 2000. The unemployment rate for people receiving
jobless benefits was at 1.8 percent for an eighth straight week.
(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
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