Seasonally adjusted initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell by 10,000 to 203,000 in the week ended Sept. 1 from the previous week's unrevised level of 213,000, data from the U.S. Department of Labor showed.
This was the lowest level for initial claims since Dec. 6, 1969, the agency said. Econoday had predicted initial jobless claims would be unchanged at 213,000.
The four-week moving average came in at 209,500, down 2,750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 212,250.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was unchanged at 1.2% in the week ended Aug. 25. Insured unemployment during the week fell by 3,000 to 1,707,000 from the prior week's revised level of 1,710,000.