U.S. jobless claims fall unexpectedly in latest week

The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly last week back to near the lowest levels in decades.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 for the week ended Jan. 14, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits rising to 254,000 in the latest week.

The number of claims for the previous week was revised up by 2,000 to 249,000.

(Writing by Dan Burns; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)