U.S. Jobless Claims Fell to 237,000 Last Week

By Ben Leubsdorf and Sarah Chaney Features Dow Jones Newswires

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week, remaining at a low level consistent with a healthy U.S. labor market.

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Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., declined by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 237,000 in the week ended June 10, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 240,000 new claims last week. Initial claims for the week ended June 3 were left unrevised at 245,000.

Figures for jobless claims can be volatile from week to week. The four-week moving average for initial claims edged up by 1,000 last week to 243,000.

Low claims can signal that relatively few companies are laying off workers, a sign of health in the broader economy. Weekly claims have remained below 300,000 for 119 consecutive weeks, the longest such streak since 1970--when the U.S. population and workforce were far smaller than they are today.

The job market has tightened in recent years and the unemployment rate in May fell to 4.3%, its lowest level since 2001. Hiring slowed a bit in recent months; nonfarm payrolls rose by an average of 121,000 per month in the three months ended May, down from last year's monthly average of 187,000.

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Also on Thursday, the Labor Department said continuing unemployment claims, reflecting benefits drawn by workers for longer than a week, rose by 6,000 to 1.935 million in the week ended June 3. Data on continuing claims are released with a one-week lag.

The Labor Department's latest report on jobless claims can be accessed at: http://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf

Write to Ben Leubsdorf at ben.leubsdorf@wsj.com and Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 15, 2017 08:45 ET (12:45 GMT)