The jobless claims in the United States unexpectedly fell last week as low number of Americans turned up to file new applications for unemployment benefits.
The drop in last week’s unemployment claims indicated towards a strengthening labor market.
The initial jobless claims for state benefits dropped by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 289,000 for the week that ended on December 13, according to the report released by the US Labor Department on Thursday.
The data from the Labor Department came a day after the Federal Reserve Bank offered an upbeat assessment of the broader economy as well as the country’s labor market, signaling a hike in interest rates early next year.
Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at New York’s MUFG Union Bank, said, “The economy continues to run hard as it finishes out the year.”
The last week’s data defied Wall Street’s expectations for an increase to 295,000.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, slipped by 750 to 298,750.
Meanwhile, the job gains have exceeded 200,000-mark for 10 consecutive months, the longest such stretch recorded since 1994.
The US central bank, which has maintained its interest rate near zero since December 2008, reduced its forecast for unemployment rate on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, many economists and market experts expected the first rate hike in mid-2015.