Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Rise as Labor Market Remains Strong

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but remained below a level associated with a strengthening labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 258,000 for the week ended March 18, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Claims for the prior week were revised to show 2,000 more applications received than previously reported. The government revised the claims data going back to 2012 and published new seasonal factors for 2017.

The revisions showed claims falling to 210,000 for the week ended Feb. 25, the lowest level since 1969.

Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market for 80 straight weeks. That is the longest stretch since 1970 when the labor market was smaller. The labor market is currently near full employment.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor

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