First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly edged slightly lower in the week ended September 8th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.
The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 204,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 205,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 210,000 from the 203,000 originally reported for the previous week.
With the unexpected decrease, jobless claims fell to their lowest level since hitting 202,000 in December of 1969.
The less volatile four-week moving average also dropped to its lowest level since December of 1969, falling by 2,000 to 208,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 210,000.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also fell by 15,000 to 1.696 million in the week ended September 1st.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell to 1,711,250, a decrease of 8,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,719,500.