Figures released Thursday by Washington revealed initial jobless claims declined by 8,000 to 211,000 in the seven days ended November 2, Economists had forecast new claims to total a seasonally-adjusted 215,000.
A higher number of claims in the wake of the fire evacuations in California expected by some economists failed to materialise, although as Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macroeconomics pointed out, those residents likely had far more pressing issues on their minds other than filing claims. Data for the prior week was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.
The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, increased 250 to 215,250 last week.
The report is the latest indication that the labor market remains robust despite weakness in some parts of the economy, such as manufacturing and business investment.
The U.S. government adjusts jobless claims to account for the periodic sharp swing in seasonal employment patterns.
Jobless claims can also weigh on consumer spending, causing consumers to pull back when they rise. Jobless claims have remained historically low in recent months after falling to a 49-year low of 193,000 in April.