[WASHINGTON] The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose slightly more than expected last week, but remained in territory consistent with a strengthening labour market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 279,000 for the week ended June 6, the Labour Department said on Thursday.
Claims for the prior week were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.
It was the 14th straight week that claims held below the 300,000 threshold, which is usually associated with a firming labour market.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims edging up to 277,000. A Labour Department analyst said there was nothing unusual in the state level data.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labour market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, increased 3,750 to 278,750 last week.
The government reported last week that nonfarm payrolls increased 280,000 in May after rising 221,000 in April.
Thursday's claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 61,000 to 2.27 million in the week ended May 30.