By Harriet Torry and Sharon Nunn
WASHINGTON--The number of Americans filing applications for new unemployment benefits fell last week to a fresh 50-year low.
Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., decreased by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 192,000 in the week ended April 13, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 205,000 new claims last week.
The latest data marks the lowest level since September 1969. The labor market and population were much smaller then.
The four-week moving average of claims, a more stable measure, fell by 6,000 to 201,250 last week. That marked the lowest level since November 1969.
More broadly, claims data shows that in a tight labor market employers are reluctant to dismiss workers. The unemployment rate last month was a low 3.8%.
The number of claims workers made for longer than a week decreased by 63,000 to 1,653,000 in the week ended April 6. The figure, also known as continuing claims, is reported with a one-week lag.
The Labor Department report on jobless claims can be accessed at: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/current.htm.