The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, suggesting labor market conditions are continuing to tighten.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 270,000 for the week ended Aug. 1, the Labor Department said on Thursday. It was the 22nd consecutive week that claims held below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a strengthening labor market.
“The unemployment claims are consistent with continued solid job creation and a reduction in labor market slack over time,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.
Economists had expected claims to rise to 273,000 last week. The data has no bearing on the employment report for July, which will be released on Friday by the Labor Department. According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls are expected to have increased by 223,000, matching June’s gain.