The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased less than expected last week, pointing to continued labor market strength that could keep the country’s longest economic expansion on track.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 205,000 for the week ended Feb. 8, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims fell in the prior week to 203,000, which was the lowest reading since November.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 210,000 in the latest week. The Labor Department said only claims for Alabama were estimated last week.
The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor…