Weekly Jobless Claims Fall Less Than Expected

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week, suggesting some loss of momentum in a labor market that continues to tighten.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 258,000 for the week ended March 25, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week’s data was unrevised.

Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 108 straight weeks. That is the longest stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller.

The labor market is currently near full employment.

A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week’s claims data. Claims for Louisiana and Hawaii were estimated.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, increased 7,750 to 254,250 last week.

The labor market strength suggests

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