Jobless Claims in States at 6-Wk. Low

Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits declined to a six-week low, indicating the job market remains tight,

Figures released Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department showed jobless claims decreased by 3,000 to 218,000, lower than estimates of 220,000. What's more, continuing claims rose by 22,000 to 1.723 million in the week ended June 9.

The four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, dropped to 221,000 from 225,000.

The prior-week's reading was revised to 221,000 from 218,000.

Applications for unemployment benefits have been hovering near the lowest levels in almost five decades and reflect employers' desire to retain staff as the stateside labour market tightens.

Companies are also pulling in workers from across the market, with the unemployment rates of blacks at a record low and Hispanics near all-time lows, according to the latest monthly jobs figures.

Economists may focus more on the latest results because they reflect job market conditions in the week containing the 12th of the month, which is the reference period for the Labor Department’s June jobs report due July 6.