[WASHINGTON] Claims for US unemployment benefits fell last week, continuing a record run at low levels, the US Labour Department said on Thursday.
Initial benefit claims, seen as an indicator of the prevalence of layoffs, dropped to 259,000, a decrease of 4,000 below last week's unrevised figure of 263,000, the department said.
Analysts had forecast a claims level of 265,000 for the week ending September 3.
"This marks 79 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1970," the department said in a statement.
The four-week moving average also fell to 261,250.
The health of the US jobs market is key factor in US policymakers' decisions in interest rates, which are due to be reviewed later this month.
Hiring in August produced 151,000 new positions, according to figures released last week, still solid but well below July's level and below analyst expectations.