Fewer Americans lost their jobs to layoffs last week.
The number of Americans filing new applications for state unemployment benefits fell by 2,000 to 214,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Jobless claims remain near lows not seen for close to 40 years.
Jobless claims are a proxy for layoffs and have been closely watched this year for signs that trade disputes might weigh on the U.S. labor market. So far, there are no signs that tariffs have cost the U.S. economy any jobs.
The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out weekly volatility and is considered by many economists to be a more reliable gauge of conditions, to 213,750. That is also near the lowest level since December 1969, according to the Labor Department.
Economists had expected jobless claims to fall by even more, to 212,000. Nonetheless, Thursday’s figures show the labor market in the U.S. remains very strong.
The number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid also fell in late October, by 7,000 to 1.63 million for the week ended October 20. That is the lowest level since July 1973. The four-week moving average of continuing claims dropped 6,250 to 1.64 million, the lowest level since August 1973.