U.S. jobless claims rise, four-week average lowest since 1973

Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:40am EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits rose marginally and the underlying trend continued to point to a fairly healthy labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 260,000 for the week ended Oct.

24, the Labor Department said on Thursday. They remained not too far from levels last seen in late 1973.

The prior week's claims were unrevised. It was the 34th straight week that claims were below the 300,000 threshold, which is normally associated with a fairly healthy jobs market.

The very low level of layoffs suggests the labor market remains in good shape, despite a recent sharp slowdown in job growth. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday noted that the pace of job gains had slowed, but said "underutilization of labor

resources has diminished since early this year."

Nonfarm payroll gains in August and September averaged 139,000, the weakest two-month rise since January last year Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to

263,000 last week. A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing the data.   Continued...

Job seekers listen to a presentation at the Colorado Hospital Association health care career fair in Denver April 9, 2013.  REUTERS/Rick Wilking