The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped more than expected last week, the government said Thursday, pointing to strengthening labor market conditions.
The Labor Department reported that initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 312,000 for the week ended June 14.
The prior week’s claims were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless aid falling to 314,000 last week.
The Federal Reserve (Fed) said Wednesday that the job market would continue to improve gradually and hinted at a slightly faster pace of interest rate increases beginning in 2015.
A Labor Department analyst said that there were no special factors influencing the state level data.
The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 3,750 to 311,750 last week.