The number of Americans submitting applications for jobless benefits unexpectedly declined last week, matching the fewest in four decades.
Initial unemployment claims dropped by 7,000 to 255,000 in the week ending Oct. 10, a Labor Department report said Thursday. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 270,000 applications. The decline brought the monthly average to its lowest since December 1973.
Steady domestic demand even in the face of tepid global growth is encouraging managers to maintain head counts. At the same time, additions to payrolls have slowed the last two months as diminished economic prospects abroad prompt some employers to limit hiring.