U.S. jobless claims drop more than expected


The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, underscoring the robustness of the labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 254,000 for the week ended Nov. 5, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were unrevised.

It was the 88th consecutive week that claims remained below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market. That is the longest stretch since 1970, the department said.

U.S. stocks pared gains slightly following the data, while the dollar rose modestly against the euro.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits falling to 260,000 in the latest week.

The Labor Department said there were no special factors impacting the week's data and that claims for only one state, Virginia, were estimated.

The four-week moving average of claims, which irons out volatility, rose 1,750 to 259,750 last week. The number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 18,000 to 2.04 million in the week ended Oct. 29.

The claims data follows last Friday's monthly employment report for October, which showed a healthy gain of 161,000 jobs.

With a strong jobs market, the Federal Reserve is still currently seen raising interest rates at its next meeting in December despite a shock victory for Republican Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Andrea Ricci)