U.S. Jobless Claims Hit Lowest Level Since 1969

Initial claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., fell to 210,000 in the week ended Feb. 24

Job seekers filling out applications at a job fair in Meridian, Miss., on Feb. 8. PHOTO: PAULA MERRITT/ASSOCIATED PRESS

By Ben Leubsdorf

WASHINGTON—The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since December 1969, offering fresh evidence of health in the labor market.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., declined by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 210,000 in the week ended Feb. 24, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was the lowest reading for initial claims since the week ended Dec. 6, 1969. “Claims remain historically low—indeed, they are still falling—consistent with the trend in employment growth remaining more than strong enough to keep the unemployment rate trending down,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, in a note to clients.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 225,000 new claims last week.

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